Perhaps the most venerated of all percussion instruments, the sweet and soothing vibraphone distinguishes much of the finest jazz and Latin-jazz recordings. The vibes can be very hip, as in hypnotic. A "xylophone for adults," known in Hawaii as the "white man's bamboo organ," the vibes can lend exoticism or pass as a standard instrument. Great jazz vibes players have tended to explore Latin music and double on marimba. Tito Puente and other great Latin stars made extensive use of vibes in the small mambo groups of the 1950s.

Similar to Cal Tjader, and in fact an outgrowth of Latin jazz, was the pop exotica movement. Arthur Lyman in particular demonstrated versatility in both pop and jazz. Much of the standard canon for exotica, in fact, came from California jazz sources, such as the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Quintessential session percussionist Phil Kraus joined one of the first bands to use vibes in 1939. This was the band of New York radio station WNEW, later known as the Five Shades. Lionel Hampton and other leading lights led the way in mainstream jazz. The major Latin acts in New York concentrated on vibes in the early 1950s, but it was not until the following decade that vibes found their place in all kinds of pop music. Low-key and atmospheric, vibes make an unnatural lead instrument; fortunately enough top percussionists have gone through a vibes stage that there are fine, and sometimes funky, vibes-led albums.

Buying: Hip vibes records can be very hard to find. Pick up Pike, check later Tjader, and don't be coy about McCoy. Latin vibes stars abound: Alfredito, Puente, Pucho, Pete Terrace, Bobby Montez...

[Non-Latin] Vibes LPs

7Afro Blues Quintet Plus 1: Introducing the; Mira MLPS-3013
8Afro Blues Quintet Plus 1: New Directions; Mira MLPS-3010
6Afro Blues Quintet Plus 1: Discovery 3; Mira MLPS-3013
7Afro Blues Quintet Featuring Rene Bloch: The Afro Blues' Next Album; Mira MLPS-3016; 1968 (w/Rene Bloch)
7Afro Blues Quintet Plus 1: Guantanamera; Surrey SS-1037
7Afro Blues Quintet Plus 1: Today; Crestview CRS-3054
8Roy Ayers: Coffy ST; Polydor PD-5048; 1973
7Gary Burton: The New Quartet; Polydor/ECM ECM-1030-ST; 1973 (soul-jazz vibes/funky rock)
8Walt Dickerson: Relativity; Prestige/New Jazz 8275; 1962 (w/Ahmed Abdul-Malik)
6Walt Dickerson Quartet: Vibes in Motion; Audio Fidelity AFSD-6217; 1968 ("Lawrence of Arabia" selections)
8Walt Dickerson Quartet: Impressions of "A Patch of Blue"; MGM SE-4358
8Walt Dickerson: Peace; Inner City IC-2042; 1976
6Lionel Hampton: The Many Sides of Hamp; Glad LP-1001
7Lionel Hampton: Hamp in Japan/Live; Glad GHLP-1006; 1964
6Lionel Hampton: East Meets West; Glad GHLP-1007 (with Miyoko Hoshino)
8Lionel Hampton: Hamp's Portrait of a Woman; Glad-Hamp GHS-1012 (vocals by Ruth Brown, Sally Garcia, Roberta Sherwood, Carmen Costa, Nellie Clarke, Miyoko Hoshino, The Hamptones)
Lionel Hampton & his Jazz Inner Circle: Hamp Stamps; Glad-Hamp
6Lionel Hampton & the Inner Circle: Them Changes; Brunswick BL-754182; 1972/1970 (w/Lee Moses)
5Lionel Hampton: Please Sunrise; Brunswick BL-754190; 1972
6Lionel Hampton: There It Is!; Brunswick BL-754198; 1972
6Lionel Hampton: Stop! I Don't Need Your Sympathy!; Brunswick BL-754203; 1974
8Lionel Hampton: The Works!; Groove Merchant GM-4400; 1975 (2-LP reissue; 1st LP live)
8Lionel Hampton: Off Into a Black Thing; Brunswick BL-754213; 1976
6Lionel Hampton Presents Bill Doggett; Who's Who in Jazz WWLP-21002; 1977
8Lionel Hampton & Friends: Chameleon; Glad-Hamp GHS-1021; 1980 (live soul jazz; reissued at least partly on the later Good Vibes LP)
Bobby Hutcherson: Dialogue; Blue Note BST-84198
Bobby Hutcherson: Components; Blue Note BST-84213
8Bobby Hutcherson: Happenings; Blue Note BST-84231; 1967
8Bobby Hutcherson: Stick-Up!; Blue Note BST-84244; 1968
8Bobby Hutcherson: San Francisco; Blue Note BST-84362; 1971 (w/Harold Land, Joe Sample)
7Khan Jamal: Infinity; Jam'Brio 001; 1984/1982-84
Khan Jamal: Dark Warrior; Steeplechase SCS-1196
Khan Jamal Quartet: Hucksterman; Steeplechase; 1984
7Khan Jamal: Three; Steeplechase SCS-1201; 1985/1984
7Khan Jamal Trio: The Traveller; Steeplechase SCS-1217; 1986
6Phil Kraus: The Percussive Phil Kraus; Golden Crest CR-3004 (ancient pop but a classic)
Johnny Lytle: Blues Vibes; Riverside/Jazzland JLP-922/JLP-22
6Johnny Lytle Trio: Happy Ground; Riverside/Jazzland JLP-944/JLP-44 (Riverside 9470)
Johnny Lytle: Tough Tenors; Riverside/Jazzland JLP-931/JLP-31
Johnny Lytle: Lookin' at Monk; Riverside/Jazzland JLP-939/JLP-39
Johnny Lytle: Griff & Lock; Riverside/Jazzland JLP-942/JLP-42
Johnny Lytle: Blues Up & Down; Riverside/Jazzland JLP-960/JLP-60
7Johnny Lytle Quintet: Nice & Easy; Riverside/Jazzland JLP-967/JLP-67
Johnny Lytle: Got That Feeling; Riverside 9456
7Johnny Lytle: A Groove; ABC/Riverside RS-3003 (compilation)
7Johnny Lytle: Moon Child; ABC/Riverside RS-3017 (compilation)
6Johnny Lytle: The Loop; Tuba LP-5001
7Johnny Lytle: New & Groovy; Tuba LP-5002
Johnny Lytle: [A Man & a Woman]; Solid State; 1967 (mod soul)
7Johnny Lytle: The Sound of Velvet Soul; Solid State SS-18026; 1968 (mod soul)
6Johnny Lytle: Be Proud; Solid State SS-18044; 1968
8Johnny Lytle: Close Enough for Jazz; Solid State SS-18056; 1969
Johnny Lytle: Look!--Johnny Lytle Done It Again; Pacific Jazz ST-20125/PJ-10125
8Johnny Lytle: Swingin' at the Gate; Pacific Jazz ST-2012/PJ-10129 (w/Patato Valdes)
9Johnny Lytle: The Soulful Rebel; Milestone MSP-9036; 1971 (w/Ray Barretto)
8Johnny Lytle: People & Love; Milestone MSP-9043; 1972
6Johnny Lytle: Everything Must Change; Muse MR-5158; 1978 (w/John Patton)
7Freddie McCoy: Lonely Avenue; Prestige PR-7395; 1965
7Freddie McCoy: Spider Man; Prestige PRST-7444; 1965
8Freddie McCoy: Funk Drops; Prestige PR-7570; 1966
6Freddie McCoy: Peas 'n' Rice; Prestige PR-7487; 1967
8Freddie McCoy: Beans 'n' Greens; Prestige PR-7542; 1967
6Freddie McCoy: Soul Yogi; Prestige PRST-7561; 1968 (mod, strings, sitar)
8Freddie McCoy: Listen Here; Prestige PRST-7582; 1968
8Freddie McCoy: The Best of Freddie McCoy; Prestige PRST-7706 (compilation: Listen Here, Beans 'n Greens, Soul Yogi, Peas 'n Rice, Harlem Nocturne, Spider Man, Lonely Avenue)
8Freddie McCoy: Gimme Some!; Buddah/Cobblestone CST-9004
-Dave Pike
7The Dennie Poole Jazztette: Cool Cat, Hot Vibes; Mount Vernon/Vernon VM-501
8The Silhouettes: Conversations with the Silhouettes; Segue 1001
The Wooden Glass Recorded Live, featuring Billy Wooten; Interim NR-2546; 1972

Partly Vibes LPs

-Mulatu Astatke -- see soul jazz
7Jack Brokensha Quartet/Lenore Paxton Trio: Steel Blue & Other Hit Tunes; Columbia Special Products CSS-487; 1966 (commerce/jazz-vibes/jazz-piano; made for United States Steel; Jack Brokensha Quartet started in Canada as the Australian Jazz Quintet)
7Earth Wind & Fire: Head to the Sky; CBS KC-32194; 1973 ("Evil")
6Ole Jensen & his Music; Chappell LPC-1028; 1969 (production/soul jazz/vibes/Mexicali)
9Nino Nardini: Jungle Obsession; Re-Joint; 2000 (production, hip)
8Johnny Scott/Westway Studio Orchestra: Jazz-Beat-Bossa Nova; Southern SLLP-25 (production; soul jazz: vibes ("Cutey Walk"), bass, organ, guitar, mod)
6Shirley Scott: Latin Shadows; Impulse A-93; 1965 (arr. Gary McFarland
8Gene Shaw Sextet: Carnival Sketches; Argo LP-743; 1964
7Senor Soul Plays Funky Favorites; Double Shot DSS-5004; 1968
8Kenny Smith Quartet/Mauricio Smith Quintet/Mike Abeni Trio: Drum Star; Music Minus One MMO-4074; 1972/1971 (deluxe box w/book; features Dee Dee Bridgewater)
8Kenny Smith Quartet/Mauricio Smith Quintet/Mike Abeni Trio: Drumpadstickskin; Music Minus One MMO-4075; 1972/1971 (deluxe box w/book; features Dee Dee Bridgewater)
7Bobby Timmons w/Johnny Lytle: Workin' Out!; Prestige PRST-7387; 1965
7G. Wilden: Rockin' Soul/H. Posegga: Swingers 10"; Harmonic 630; 1970 (UK production/soul-jazz vibes/mod soul/funky sitar)
7Various: Latin Jazz Dance Classics Vol. 2; Ubiquity/Cubop CBLP-010; 1997 (Freddie McCoy's "Spider Man")
8Various: [Black Power Presents:] Suono Libero--A Trip Through Obscure '70s Jazz-Funk Tracks from Italian Music Library (sic); IRMA/La Douce 806; 1997/1968-84 (funk/soul-jazz organ/soul-jazz vibes/soul-jazz piano/soul-jazz flute/soul-jazz horns/soul-jazz conga/Brasil)

[Partly] Vibes 45s

7Lionel Hampton & Orchestra: Wild Bill/Wailin'; Glad G008/G009
9Lionel Hampton & his New York All Stars: Blackout Parts 1 & 2; Vantage (funky drums, guitar, & odd timing, like Emil Richards' Microtonal period)
7Lionel Hampton & his Jazz Inner Circle: Hamp Stamps/Tom Collins; Glad-Hamp GH-2035 (co-prod. Chico O'Farrill)
7Lionel Hampton & his Inner Circle of Jazz: Greasy Greens/Sunshine Superman; Glad-Hamp GH-2038 (on Hamp Stamps LP)
9Lionel Hampton & his Inner Circle: A Sketch of Gladys/Cool Charlie; Glad-Hamp GH-2044 (funky drums, wordless chorus, A-side sitar)
8Lionel Hampton & The Hamptone Singers: They Call Ford Mr. Sunshine/long version; Glad-Hamp GH-4374
6Lionel Hampton & his New York Jazz All-Stars: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes/Matilda; Glad-Hamp GH-3001; 1979 (disco jazz; B-side "discolypso"; co-prod. Chico O'Farrill)
8Johnny Lytle: Side Street/The Nearness of You; Travis TR-034
7Johnny Lytle: The Loop/Hot Sauce; Tuba 2004 (LP cuts)
8Johnny Lytle: The Snapper/Screamin' Loud; Tuba 2007; 1967 (LP cuts)
9Johnny Lytle: Done it Again/Jungle Child; Liberty/Pacific Jazz 88142; 1967 (LP cuts)
7Johnny Lytle: Gonna Get That Boat Parts 1 & 2; Liberty/Pacific Jazz 88143; 1967 (LP cuts)
8Johnny Lytle: The Snapper/Screamin' Loud; 2007; 1967 (LP cuts)
8Freddie McCoy: Hav' Mercy/Spider Man; Prestige 45-398; 1965
8The Silhouettes: Oh What A Day/Red Snow; Western World WW-5503 (mod vocal/mod soul-jazz flute instrumental; Carnegie PA)

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