Leonard Feather

Swingin' on the Vibories

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In 1956, jazz critic Leonard Feather briefly championed the vibories, a keyboard that attached to the vibes and allowed pianists to transfer their ideas to the vibraphone. The results could sound impossible at times, such as when the pianist used block chording because, instead of utilizing two or four mallets, the player was able to use all ten fingers, making the vibes sound remarkably dense. The vibories soon disappeared into history, with this long out of print and obscure album probably being the only example of the device being recorded. The most memorable performance is on "Stompin' at the Savoy," which has Gerald Wiggins playing block chords, and Feather himself making appearances on piano and vibories. Other players who take turns on the vibories along the way include Red Mitchell (who was normally a bassist), Kenny Drew, and Sonny Clark, with Bob Enevoldsen heard taking solos on both tenor and trombone. This historical curiosity does contain some worthwhile and swinging music by young greats of the mid-'50s.

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