Chris Graham,
After-Birth of Cool
(independent, 2010)

Vibes are pretty cool, and so is this CD. After-Birth of Cool is melodic and low-key. Alex Austin on bass and Oliver Hunt on drums provide a subtle background to Chris Graham's mallet work.

The vibes here are set to sound less like a xylophone or marimba and more evenly electronic, which adds to the smoothness of the music. Graham plays quickly but with a soft touch, to create an even flow. The sound is relaxing but not vapid, with just enough tension to carry the listener on this journey of songs about childbirth.

Graham has developed a technique for playing with five mallets, which helps him to bend notes and play chords. What stands out here, though, are his musical ideas. Everything is melodic. His cover of Paul Winter's beautiful "Icarus" fits in well with the other seven tracks. There do not seem to be any solos here, just well developed songs played with feeling.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Dave Howell

27 November 2010

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