On his first CD as a leader, vibraphonist Christos Rafalides' Manhattan Vibes has recorded an amazingly creative and eclectic debut. From Afro-funk rhythms to the contemporary jazz jams with guest soloist Randy Brecker, this CD is an adventure.
Cut one, Flamingo Strut
is full of beautiful tribal calling and drumming with notes that sound like bells in the rain, while cut two, Pocket is an insouciant and popping jam. The Latin swing of La Esencia Del Guanguanco
is so ringingly sensual it makes you want to move your hips. Listening to Christos' handling of standards such as Fool On The Hill
and All The Things You Are
has made me a fan of the vibraphone. The music is at once warm and cosmopolitan, there's something about the vibration that gives the music a lovely full bodied sound. The last cut, Sweet
is named appropriately, it is almost dripping with honeyed smoothness it brevity leaves a feeling of regret
Born in Greece, Christos Rafalides is a well known vibraphonist in his own country. After coming to the U.S., he completed his studies with Gary Burton at Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. Christos founded Manhattan Vibes in 1999. The group features bassist John Benitez whose own 2001 Debut album as a leader, "Descarga in New York"
received rave reviews. Add extraordinary jazz/funk drummer Steve Hass and the combination was well received in New York. The CD's featured artist, the legendary Randy Brecker's career includes the pioneering jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears, and the Brecker brothers. Other guest artists are Venezuelan, Luisito Quintero, Vinny Valentino on guitar and Mary Wormworth on vocals. This CD is a delight! I'll look for more from Christos Rafalides and Manhattan Vibes.