Bill Molenhof, a talented vibraphonist and marimba player whose sound at various times hints at Milt Jackson, Gary Burton, and Bobby Hutcherson, grew up in the Midwest. He toured with guitarist Wayne Johnson, taught at Berklee, and in 1976 moved to New York City, where he worked with everyone from Ruby Braff and Jackie & Roy to Tim Berne. Since 1983 he has frequently performed in Europe, and now teaches in Germany. On Do You Speak Vibe, Molenhof mostly performs in trios with either Rudi Engel or Kermit Driscoll on bass and Tom Baker or Werner Treiber on drums. Three songs add a pianist and one a guitarist. The music ranges from a fairly free improvisation on "Visual Image" and a mildly funky "Make Yourself at Fun" to the driving "Skeins," the tricky but swinging "All You Monk Fans," "Falling Trees" (which is based on "Autumn Leaves"), and a thoughtful out-of-tempo ballad, "Waltz King." The last few selections on this CD are more "contemporary" and electric, particularly "A Dancer at Heart" and "Busy Signal," but they are creative within the genre. This stimulating set is worth exploring.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow