Tom Beckham: Tethered
Tom Beckham (vibes)
Rebound (Apria 136127)
Tom Beckham (vibes),
Chris Cheek (tenor sax), Henry Hey (piano), Matt Clohesy (bass), Fernec Nemeth (drums).
Composed by Tom Beckham.
Recorded: Warren, NJ, November 16, 2007
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Brooklyn-based vibraphonist Tom Beckham is a lyrical player with a flair for writing distinctive, memorable tunes. On Rebound, Beckham is rejoined by Cheek and Hey from his previous CD Center Songs, plus newcomers Clohesy and Nemeth.
The leadoff track, "Tethered," is a good example of Beckham's thoughtful compositional approach: "With this song, the pitch at the end of each phrase suggested the pitch of the following phrase." Vibes and bass introduce the slowly building melodic theme, with Beckham sounding like a mixture of Gary Burton and Mike Mainieri. Piano and drums enter as Cheek's tenor sax reads the same line, accentuating its smoothly interconnecting short phrases until the group ups the dynamic level, adding heat and emotion to what had been a coolly deliberate exposition. Beckham's appealing solo is played with a warm, rounded tone and displays a sure technical finesse. Cheek follows with his always identifiable, inviting sound and an imaginative flow of well-formulated and resolved ideas. Hey's piano solo focuses on sharply delineated chords and a series of cascading runs. Cheek again takes up the tantalizing theme to close out the piece, with Beckham's animated arpeggios complementing him superbly. This track invites repeated listens, so compelling are the tune, the series of solos, and group interplay.
Reviewer: Scott Albin