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Steve Hobbs: Vibes, Straight Up

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Born and bred in Raleigh, N.C., vibraphonist Steve Hobbs endeavors here to pay tribute to his Southern roots, as each of these nine compositions has some kind of connection to the South, however distant that connection might be.

It’s difficult for any vibraphonist-if only because there were and are so few-to not show the influence of Milt Jackson, Lionel Hampton, Mike Mainieri, Bobby Hutcherson and other past greats. Hobbs sounds closest to Jackson, particularly on ballads (how could you not?) and Mainieri on the swingers, often recalling Mainieri’s legendary work with the early 1960s Buddy Rich small group. That influence is particularly evident on the old stalwart “Cherokee,” which Mainieri could tear up. So does Hobbs.

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