This new CD, Fade, by vibraphonist Tim Collins reflects a grab bag of styles all the way from contemporary rock to modern classical, including punk, blues and straight-ahead jazz, as well. This album is nothing if not eclectic--it’s just good music.
Displaying his unconventional talent on 10 originals, Collins uses the vibes uniquely, often like a guitar-creating layers of sound and effects-including distortion, delay, pitch bending and bowing. Again, the selections are wide-ranging, from contemporary funk to haunting and beautiful melody.
On board for this exhilarating ride are bassist Charlie Hunter and drummer Simon Lott-along with a string ensemble and valuable contributions from Mathias Bublath, piano and organ, and Matt Blostein, alto sax. Also, the versatile Hunter is given wide range to display his hard-swinging sound,this time on electric bass instead of his usual eight-string guitar.
Collins is a relatively newcomer on the jazz scene. Born in 1977, he was raised in upper New York state and started playig drums and piano at an early age, later switching to vibes He attended Manhattan School of Music, and now regularly appears as a drummer and vibes player with various NY based rock, jazz and Latin groups, led by such stars as Miguel Zenon, Paul Shaffer, Christian McBride and Brian Seeger. This is his second record as a leader, following , Valcour, released in early 2007.
Lott’s relentless punk rock beat and Collins’ playful repetitive notes on vibes grab our attention immediately in the first two tracks "Loud" and "Rise, Set, Fall." Here, minimalist composer Terry Riley’s "In C" comes to mind, as does fellow minimalist Steve Reich’s use of tape loops to create phrasing patterns.
The CD’s mood changes with the haunting Beatle-like "Dear Old Friend" which features some fine piano work by Bublath. On another ballad, "Fade," the strings provide an ethereal quality, complementing Blostein’s alto and Collins’ vibes.
On "Saddlebags," Collins' funky homage to Milt Jackson, the vibist gets a chance to show his improvisational chops. In summary, this wide-ranging CD keeps the listener constantly intrigued.