Tag Archives: vibraphone

Warren Wolf: Reincarnation


The last album I would like to present this year comes from Warren Wolf, the Baltimore based vibraphonist and composer. His album ‘Reincarnation’ was released in February 2020 and it found it’s way to my ears just some weeks ago.

Reincarnation represents a rebirth of Warren Wolf’s love for the R&B and soul hits from his formative years in the 1990s.

‘I realized I was about to turn 40,’ explained Wolf. ‘I was 21 when I first went out on the road as a pro. So, for almost half my life I’ve been playing straight-ahead jazz. But that’s not how my dad, who was my first teacher, raised me musically. Jazz was always a part of it, but he wanted me to play everything: classical, R&B, hip-hop, ragtime, pop – but those things eventually faded away. Looking toward the second part of my life, I realized I need to bring those aspects back to life.’

The songs on the album are all Warren Wolf originals with the exception of one Isley Brothers hit. He searched and found a group of musicians that share his experience to be equally versed in the jazz tradition and the spirited feel of vintage R&B.

The line-up is:

  • Warren Wolf – vibraphone.
  • Brett Williams – Fender Rhodes and piano
  • Richie Goods – electric and upright bass
  • Mark Whitfield – guitar
  • Carroll “CV” Dashiell III – drums and percussion
  • Imani-Grace Cooper – vocals
  • Marcellus “Bassman” Shepard – vocals

See this little promotion video for some more insights:


The album starts with a smooth intro presenting the “new” Warren Wolf followed by the first highlight of the album.

‘For Ma’ is a beautiful song with a steady groove and great melody, switching to kicks in the vibraphone solo before picking up and going back to the steady groove and the head. This song features Warren Wolf and his vibraphone.

‘Vahybing’ is in contrast a jazz tune, a bass vamp lays the foundation of this song and piano and vibraphone are pushing each other plus the drummer adding extra tension. The second half of the song starts with a sole piano followed by a riff that allows the drummer to play a solo.

The next song ‘In the Heat of the Night’ features the vocals of Imani-Grace Cooper and Marcellus “Bassman” Shepard in a highly sensual dialog of a lovers rendezvous. Incredible Fender Rhodes sound by Brett Williams plus some tasteful guitar by Mark Whitfield create an outstanding ambience.

‘The Struggle’ is a song where Warren Wolf reflects the suffering faced by several of Wolf’s loved ones from a horrendous car accident affecting his ex-wife to the troubles of Baltimore streets. Nevertheless, great music perfectly played with another fantastic vibraphone solo.

The Isley Brother song ‘For the Love of You’ comes next and this song features again Imani-Grace Cooper on vocals. Another great groove song with the killer Fender Rhodes sound and some rhythm guitar by Mark Whitfield. The outro of this song features one more time Carroll “CV” Dashiell III on drums and percussion.

‘Sebastian and Zoë’ is a tribute to the two youngest children of Warren Wolf. Imani-Grace Cooper’s singing is again commented by Marcellus “Bassman” Shepard adding this special vibe to the song which we heard before and which is one of the main characteristics of this album.

‘Livin’ the Good Life’ provides a warm summation of the album’s theme and of Wolf’s current happiness. Nice to hear the extra backing vocals added. The setup is pure jazz – vocals, vibraphone, piano, upright bass and drums. The vibraphone solo switches to swing rhythm – just a brief detour for a single minute, to prove to longtime fans that Wolf hasn’t abandoned his straight-ahead chops.

‘Come and Dance With Me’ comes next and this song features Warren Wolf on vibraphone and Brett Williams on piano in a Jazz waltz composition dedicated to Waren Wolf’s wife, a ballerina and teacher who he hopes will use the song in her classes.

The ‘Smooth Outro’ ties the album up to the intro and closes the set. Nice idea and another opportunity for Marcellus “Bassman” Shepard, aka “The Man with the Voice,” to add an old-fashioned radio-style farewell.

‘Reincarnation’ is a fantastic album that contains perfectly played music with great taste and incredible groove. The performance of these musicians is outstanding and the combination of jazz musicians who have sucked in R&B music when being breast fed make this album so precious.

More information on Warren Wolf is available on his website:

And here comes the complete album as playlist:

Christian Tamburr: The Awakening – Sounds For Sculpture

The Awakening Folder Cover

Vibraphonist and composer Christian Tamburr has released a fantastic album called “The Awakening – Sound for Sculpture” which was inspired by ten bronze sculptures by renowned sculptor Seward Johnson.

Christian Tamburr explains: “The concept for the album came from an afternoon walk through the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton NJ, where I was inspired by the lush botanical gardens and transformative thematic scenes surrounding Seward’s sculptures. With the kind permission of Seward Johnson, the Seward Johnson Atelier and the Grounds For Sculpture, the process to select and start composition around the amazing sculptures began. The vision was to create a new experiential dimension through music to accompany each sculpture, while maintaining openness for individual interpretation. The musical inspiration ranges from Straight Ahead, to Modern Jazz, to World Music to Singer Songwriter. Each sculpture (which shares the same name as each track) has a story and that story is told through the music.”

The music was premiered for three nights and six shows in August of 2019 at Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center in New York and the album was officially released on March 23, 2020.

The line-up for this album is:

  • Christian Tamburr – Composer / Vibraphone / Piano
  • Dominick Farinacci – Trumpet
  • Clint Holmes – Vocals
  • Keith Ganz – Guitar
  • Scott Giddens – Piano
  • Billy Thornton – Bass
  • John Davis – Drums
  • Michael Dobson – World and Folly Percussion

The album starts with the title song “The Awakening” inspired by the 72-foot (22 m) statue of a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. The band plays with incredible energy and a pushing pulse. We hear great solos by vibraphone and trumpet and Clint Holmes on vocals gives this contemporary jazz tune it’s special touch. First song and first highlight on the album.

“Between Appointments” comes next. The sculpture depicts a businessman catching a nap on a park bench, with his face draped by an edition of the New York Times newspaper. A jazz tune in New York cocktail bar jazz style with vibraphone and trumpet playing the melody together. Excellent sound combination. The first heavy swinging solo goes to Christian Tamburr followed by Dominick Farinacci on trumpet.

“A Thought to Consider” brings back Clint Holmes on vocals with a beautiful ballad. The sculpture is based on Manet’s picture ‘Dans la Serre’ and depicts a couple, she sitting on a bench and him leaning over the bench. The interpretation of the picture and the sculpture are not clear if the couple is in distance or in harmony, however the melancholic love song comes in perfect harmony and gives us an answer.

“Crack the Whip” is the next song and the corresponding sculpture shows eight children at play holding hands and running in a semi-circle.  This song is an up-tempo jazz tune where the piano solo by Scott Giddens stands out.

“Erotica Tropicalis” is inspired by Henri Rousseau’s ‘The Dream’. In the painting, a young woman rests on a sofa and contemplates the surrounding jungle, apparently oblivious to the danger by the wild creatures around her. This song comes as an old-fashioned Rumba with a gypsy guitar solo and another outstanding vibraphone solo.

“Hiding in the Light” is based on the sculpture “Stainless Girl”, a stylized nude which was Seward Johnson’s first work. The song comes in singer-songwriter style with Clint Holmes on vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar and soft piano arpeggios.

“Double Check” is based on the sculpture that became famous as the only piece of art to survive 9-11. The song is another up-beat pushing jazz tune with an incredible drumming by John Davis supported by Michael Dobson on percussion. Definitely another highlight on this album.

The sculpture “Day Dream” shows a group of naked women dancing and is inspired by Henri Matisse’s picture “The Dance”. The tune comes with a pushing 3/4 meter and a nice dreamy melody.

“Jazz Dreams” comes next. This song is based on the jazz band sculpture “My Sixteen-Year-Old Jazz Dreams,” a life sized sextet featuring trumpeter Louis Armstrong. The song is a straight blues with the head played by piano, vibraphone and trumpet in unison.

The album closes with “Embracing Peace” inspired by the monumental ‘kiss’ sculpture which honors the moment in New York City on V-J Day, August 14, 1945, when a sailor spontaneously kissed a nurse in the celebration after World War II. The song is a soft ballad and features piano and bass (it is basically a piano trio with a little bit of percussion) and really rounds up this tour through times and places.

Overall an outstanding and inspiring album which Christian Tamburr created. All songs are original composition each with it’s own spirit and flavor. They also have a great underlying visualization which helps to develop a much deeper understanding of this music.

Christian has created an beautiful promotion video where you can hear some of the music and see all the sculptures:

Some more information on the Ground for Sculpture can be found on their website:

I also have to add here that Seward Johnson died three weeks ago and so this album is already an obituary of him and his work.

More information about Christian Tamburr can be found on his website:

And here is the complete album on Spotify: