Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jazz vibes player honors his masterful predecessors

Christian Tamburr
The way vibes player Christian Tamburr sees it, he honors his musical forebears every time he picks up his mallets. He paid homage Monday night, January 12, principally to Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson as part of the Charlotte County Jazz Society's Artist Series in Port Charlotte FL. "The music I play is influenced by all of these great players," Tamburr said, also noting Red Norvo, Cal Tjader and Gary Burton. 

It indeed is a small, distinct fraternity. The number of jazz saxophonists and trumpeters, for example, number in the thousands. But there are fewer than a hundred well-known jazz players, past and present, whose principal instruments are the vibes or their woody stepbrother, the marimbas.

Danny Gottlieb
Tamburr, a  native of Florida's Space Coast who now is based in northern California, had strong, inventive support from his rhythm section. He has worked with Billy Thornton (bass) and Scott Giddins (piano) since the three were music students at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville back in the late 1900s and early 2000s. The powerfully swinging drummer Danny Gottlieb, who teaches at UNF, was a special guest. Tamburr has known him for years, but this was actually the first formal gig where they worked together.

In addition to an array of jazz standards and one original, "It Rained Again Tonight," Tamburr treated the audience of about 300 to a handful of tunes written by or associated with the masters. They included "Flyin' Home" and "Cherokee" (Hampton),"Head Start" (Hutcherson) and "Bags' Groove" (Jackson).

Thornton, Tamburr
Tamburr is a treat to watch and hear, as his mallets dance across the vibes and notes are accentuated with his body English. All in service to the music.

Other highlights: the band's tango-like take on "You Don't Know What Love Is," his wonderful duet with Thornton on "All the Things You Are," and his solo version of "In a Sentimental Mood." On the latter tune, Tamburr played the vibes softly with his hands rather than mallets.

 This was his second appearance at the CCJS series at the Charlotte Cultural Center Theater. His local debut was in November 2012.
Giddins, Tamburr, Thornton, Gottlieb

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