Half Notes: Chris Graham Trio – After-Birth Of Cool (2010)

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by S. Victor Aaron

My current rotation has Crystal Silence by Gary Burton and Chick Corea, as well as After-Birth Of Cool by the Chris Graham Trio. When I play the two records concurrently or near concurrently, I pick up the same ambiance from the latter as I do from the former, and it goes beyond the fact that there are vibe players on both of them. Burton, with his four mallet technique, is an absolute master at getting a full, rich sound from his vibraphone even when he is improvising. But so is Graham. Graham, moreover, uses five mallets, and is able to generate an even richer sound from his instrument, something I didn’t think was possible. Helped along by Alex Austin on bass and Oliver Hunt on drums, After-Birth Of Cool is recorded “live in the studio” without overdubs, capturing the group in a spontaneous and energetic mood. The seven tracks, which I assume are self-composed, all have strong, memorable melodies and swing steady. Though a regional act out of Columbia, MO, After-Birth Of Cool is the right vehicle to broaden their audience nationwide.

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