Vibraphonist Tom Beckham new release, Center Songs, clearly demonstrates his skills as both a writer and an improviser while revealing the some of his closest collaborators (and top-young New York tal¬ents): pianist Henry Hey, saxophonist Chris Cheek, bassist John Hebert, and drummer Diego Voglino.
Since his arrival in New York back in 1994, vibra¬phonist Tom Beckham has been heard as a unique voice among his generation. Jim Macnie, in the Village Voice, wrote When he takes the stage he invariably amplifes the energy. "I've seen him stress his instrument's percussive side, and in doing so, stretch a solo into a trance-like soliloquy."This new recording shows the vibist unique voice and diverse set of influences, engaging the musicians in an inspired, dynamic performance.
Reviews"The tune 'Center Song' might be a good metaphor for the album as a whole: modern groove, artful harmony and melody, and a coherent presentation of how previous inspirations can bring about new voices. Albums like Bobby Hutcherson's Total Eclipse, Stick Up! or Patterns might be 'traditional' predecessors that use the vibe/sax quintet instrumentation, but while Beckham might come from a tradition, Center Songs seeks to carve out a space for his own strong voice -- influence meets invention. This album is rife with hooks that won't lose their wonder." - Kellen Yamanaka, KKJZ