Music Monday: Classy Vibes

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! If you were to break into Scott's house and look at his record collection, you'd maybe be shocked to see how many records feature the vibes. Today Scott's gathered some vibraphone hits he knows and loves and set them out on display. After you enjoy them, it'll be your turn to add a few! And don't worry, we're using the super-loose interpretation today. Xylophones, bells, marimba, whatever, today we're callin' 'em all vibes.

Roy Ayers - Liquid Love


Roy Ayers is one of those names you find almost instantly if you start getting into a certain type of music. He's not a household name like Miles Davis or John Coltrane, but he's got his only little soulful corner of the world and he maintains that corner expertly. It's just too bad that the "good vibrations" joke has been done to death, because Roy Ayers would be the perfect jazzman to use it on.

Got lots of vibein' to come after the jump. Hurry on in!

Milt Jackson - Bags' Groove


A quick look at Milt Jackson's career should make it plain he's not just some guy who couldn't handle a different instrument. Ol' Bags was at the center of the jazz world when the jazz world was the coolest place on Earth. Under his mallets, the vibes just never stop swinging.

Johnny Lytle - Minor Soul


Here Johnny Lytle shows off one of the best things about the vibes: how they can mesh so perfectly with other instruments. Throw in a bass or an organ or some drums and let everybody go to town, and they all sound better. Why? That's just the magic of the vibes, baby.

Bobby Hutcherson - Aquarian Moon


On the other end of things, the vibes can sometimes just add a little flavor to a song. Note here how they set an exotic tone, then move right out of the way to let the other instruments take over, then wander back in to remind you what's up. They're not in your face and they don't have to be. They've got their own thing, you've got yours, sometimes you meet and sometimes you don't.

Lionel Hampton - Flying Home


"King of the Vibraharp" indeed! Lionel Hampton found that sweet spot between percussion and melody and opened it up for the rest of the world. Without him, most of the people above would probably have focused on a different instrument all together. You're the Lou Reed of the vibes, Lionel, and each ringing note is a little thank you for being so awesome.

If you're a secret vibes fan, here's your chance to ring them bells. Post some of your favorite songs or artists in the comments below! Also we gotta just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use. See you next week.