Vibe master Tom Beckham may not be at the top of the “Who’s Who in Jazz” category, but he is definitely an artist that should be taken seriously. First and foremost, Beckham plays one of the most eclectic and sophisticated instruments in jazz; on top of that, he is quite good at what he does. His latest CD entitled ‘Rebound’ on the Apria Record Label exposes an energy that not only supercedes the mundane, the recording is uniquely qualified to be expressively coherent, while functioning as a downright good sounding album.
As a straight ahead jazz CD, Tom Beckham’s approachable style goes the distance in allowing him to push the envelope of creativity on eight original compositions. Each track has a seemingly perfect fit filled with improvised imagery and spontaneous rhythms. Beckham and his band of merry men consisting of saxophonist Chris Cheek, pianist Henry Hey, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Ferenc Nemeth perform brilliantly individually and collectively throughout the album’s associated tracks. One tune in particular entitled “Parting The Water” displays a much-appreciated interplay between Henry Hey’s piano and Tom’s vibraphone coupled with a laminar flow of Cheek’s sax augmentations. Although Tom Beckham’s vibes serve as the hallmark for the entire track, the roles of each member of the quintet are equally divided. This observation holds true for ‘Rebound’ in totality. Other tracks including “Carnival” and “Tiny Star” also have a certain standout appeal that allows each musician to exercise his creativity and craft as an artist.
When listening to ‘Rebound,’ there is an attachment of sensitivity and close attention to detail. Beckham’s strategic improvised rhythms serve as a reminder of the CD’s straight ahead influences. Echoes of vibe master Lionel Hampton are deeply rooted in the album’s presentation, but without the encumbrances of a big band influence. The five-man kit that is attached to ‘Rebound’ is extremely complementary, as well as the varying influences associated with Tom Beckham’s musical message. In every sense of what straight ahead jazz should be about, this release speaks volumes about the enduring qualities tied to America’s only original art form.
‘Rebound’ is the third CD for Tom Beckham as a leader. The recording is filled with homogenous melodies tied to a wave of improvised rhythms that run the gamut of influences. The harmonies are soft and mellow with a high-level of freshness attached, especially so on such tracks as “Grillin’” and “Tethered.” Overall, Tom Beckham’s latest release is a recording that fits into the groove of a finely tuned jazz activated audio phonic musical experience.
Traditional Jazz Top 25
Rebound - Tom Beckham Apria Records Earfood - Roy Hargrove Quintet Emarcy Records The Traveler - Kenny Barron Sunnyside Invisible Cinema - Aaron Parks Blue Note Lanky - Trachy Lacy Collective Independent Set The Alarm for Monday - Bobby Previte & The New Bump Palmetto Records Emphasis (On Parenthesis) - Stanton Moore Trio Telarc International Let It Come To You - Taylor Eigsti Concord Esperanza - Esperanza Spalding Heads Up When You Know - Dianne Reeves Blue Note Hidden Mandala - Marc Rossi Group Independent Medicine Man - Tom Tallitsch OA2 Records It's Magic - Ahmad Jamal Birdology/Dreyfus The Standard - Take 6 Heads Up Still Unforgettable - Natalie Cole DMI/Atco The Mancini Project - Ted Nash Palmetto Below Sea Level - Shan Arsenault Independent Worrisome Heart - Melody Gardot Verve Once A Melody - Javon Jackson Palmetto Joey Di - Joey DeFrancesco HighNote Guitars - McCoy Tyner McCoy Tyner/Half Note Road Shows, Vol. 1 - Sonny Rollins Doxy/Emarcy Across The Crystal Sea - Danilo Perez Emarcy Pass It On - Dave Holland Dare2/Emarcy Loverly - Cassandra Wilson Blue Note
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