Blindfold’s guest is a vibraphonist this time. Can Tutuğ plays one of the most curious, rare but respected instruments of music history. Musicians who play this instrument are rare in Turkey. Tutuğ is also a psychiatrist, therefore a medical doctor. But jazz and his passion for vibraphone opened the doors to a very different world for him. The musician studied the vibraphone with Amy Salsgiver and jazz harmony and jazz improv with Tony Miceli at ITU MIAM. He has played at various festivals and jazz clubs with his band The Cold Vibes. He won the Indonesian Art And Culture Scholarship Guidance Project in 2017 and was given the opportunity to study gamelan in Indonesia for three months. Tutuğ is an official endorser of Xylosynth, which is an electronic midi mallet controller. He has played his own compositions in many cities of Europe and in various jazz festivals for the past three years. We presented him with a selection of pieces by vibraphonists and composers. Tutuğ keeps the capacity of vibraphone as an instrument, the number of mallets and the technical specifications while making comments about the pieces.
Stefon Harris and Black Out
Blue Note, 2004
Nothing Personal – Michael Brecker
Stefon Harris (marimba, vibraphone)
Casey Benjamin (alto saxophone)
Marc Cary (keyboard)
Darryl Hall (double bass)
Terreon Gully (drums)
This is after the 2000s… The vibraphonist was accompanying on and off while playing the melody with marimba, now switched to a vibraphone solo. It is impressive that a vibraphonist can also play the marimba because they are not the same instrument even though they look similar. Because its tone and touch have very different elements. It could be Joe Locke or Stefon Harris. I would have said this is the Mike Mainieri sound if its intro continued like the 70s vibe. It is common for vibraphonists to be chatty but whatever this man is playing; he is playing on the inside. Toni Miceli even says “even if you play wrong, it is because this is an intrument that sounds like: oh it’s not bad at all”
Stefon Harris. Evolution album.
I have listened to the Evolution album from start to finish. I really liked the piece called Until. They also played Montara in this album, it is a beautiful piece and a reference to Bobby Hutcherson… Stefon Harris also is a great composer.
Every successful vibraphonist has their own mallets they produce. Harris’s mallets are rather heavy and it is hard to lift them and play with articulation. A company called Vic Firth produces Stefon Harris’s signature mallets. I also know about Stefon Harris from the album he recorded with Jacky Terrason in 2001, it is a great album as well.
Take It From Me
Impulse! Records, 1964
Take It From Me – Terry Gibbs
Terry Gibbs (vibraphone)
Kenny Burrell (guitar)
Sam Jones (double bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)
Ooo! I recently did the transcription for this! I really like this musician when it comes to the aspect of articulation. He always plays with two mallets. He doesn’t usually accompany with vibraphone. They play with Kenny Burrell in this album. Terry Gibbs is actually 94 years old but he still plays and has just released a new album. He is the least chattiest of vibraphonists and has one of the best swing feeling. Kenny Burell’s accompaniment here is amazing here as well. There are chromatic numbers that belong to Terry Gibbs. For example, Milt Jackson isn’t like that. He follows a more pentatonic path. This album deserves five stars. The pieces are shorter in comparison to other jazz albums. They last for 5-6 minutes. All the compositions in the album belong to Gibbs. I recommend you listen to the piece called Oge. I feel like I have had some coffee after listening to this music, I felt at home!
Stepping On Stars
EGEA – UMBRIA JAZZ, 2011
Sword Of Whispers – Joe Locke
Joe Locke (vibraphone)
Dodo Moroni (piano)
Rosario Giulliani (alto saxophone)
This is a relatively newer recording. It sounds as if it was recorded in the past 10 years. It has the 80s ECM vibe. There is something pastoral about it. The motor (the part which makes the oscillations in vibraphones) doesn’t rotate here at all. Even if the recordings aren’t done in electronic environments, the fact that the sound resonates can cause deterioration on the sharpness. Microphones can be used in two ways with vibraphones; either two condensers are placed above the instrument or to the lower part where the resonators (they are also called resonator pipes or tubes; they are the main source of sound in a vibraphone) are. It is the best to place them above for the sake of the listeners if the venue is big but this causes the risk of mallets hitting the mics. That’s why I always place them below. I sometimes play electronic vibraphone at concerts due to the ease of its transportation. If we go by the elimination method, this isn’t Gary Burton oe Ed Saindon. Is it Joe Locke? Arpeggios, crescendo, crescendo, crescendo… He has his own vibraphone language. Joe Locke is American and I believe Down Beat magazine chose him as the best vibraphonist in the recent years. Robert Rodriguez could be the pianist here. You surprised me with this Joe Locke recording!
Joe Locke, Stepping on Stars. An Umbria Jazz album.
Yes, he played with Italian musicians here. Interestingly Joe Locke’s first recordings are with Cecil Taylor! So are David Sanborn’s!
Blue Note, 1966
Maiden Voyage – Herbie Hancock
Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Bob Cranshaw (double bass)
Joe Chambers (drums)
Happenings album from either 64 or 66; Bobby Hutcherson; Maiden Voyage. It has a pink album cover. He has his wife at the time on the cover. There are Bobby Hutcherson’s ballads in this album. One of them is When You Are Near. I tried to transcribe it really hard, I managed to do so recently. This is a very educational album for me. I have played many of these pieces at Nardis Jazz Club and other venues with my band. It is an iconic album; Aquarian Moon; Bouquet, When You Are Here, Omen, Head Start ve Maiden Voyage… Herbie Hancock plays his own composition in Bobby Hutcherson’s album a couple of years later. It could be Tony Williams on the drums and Ron Carter on the bass. Hutcherson can play very fluidly as well as squeeze in many elements in a short time in his expression. He also is a great marimba player and an amazing composer. I can say he is my number one!
Who is the most popular vibraphone player at the moment? Stefon Harris?
We could say Stefon Harris since he started to play with San Fransisco Jazz (SFJAZZ Collective). It was Gary Burton before he stopped actively playing. Joel Ross attracts attention in the past year. He is botn in 86 and he released an album through Blue Note a few months ago and exploded. He plays with Immanuel Wilkins and Makaya McCraven. They have performed at Smalls and Dizzy’s Club. He is likened to Bobby Hutcherson. It isn’t a written rule of course but how black vibraphone players tend to use polyrhythms better and express the melody better rhythmically, white vibraphone players tend to use four mallets and their melodic playing style. I will put it this way; If we call Bobby Hutcherson Thelonious Monk, we could call Gary Burton Bill Evans.
Thank you for this great Blindfold Can!