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Old 01-17-2020, 01:05 PM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
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Default Annoying vibraphone in Charlie Christian music

I'm trying to get into some Jazz, so I created a "Charlie Christian" station on Pandora, and I'm liking it for the most part (although Pandora seems to be throwing a little too much Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins at me right now), but I find the Vibraphone to be annoying in some of the Charlie Christian songs, which I have otherwise enjoyed.

I didn't even know the "offending" instrument was a vibraphone; I thought it was a xylophone or glockenspiel until I googled it and found that it was the vibraphone, played by Lionel Hampton, in The Benny Goodman Sextet.

I did a quick search on AGF to see if this has been discussed before, and I found an old thread started by someone who "hated" the sound of the vibraphone, and there was an almost unanimous response from those that actually liked the vibraphone, so there you go, but it's not for me.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:21 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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I’m not familiar with Pandora, but if it’s internet based transmission of audio material, I’ve found a lot of formerly great old music unlistenable using that media due to lack of “headroom” or sense of space around instruments, especially the vibraphone which requires room to “breathe” - internet audio is compressed and lacks dynamic range.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:57 PM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
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Originally Posted by Jaden View Post
I’m not familiar with Pandora, but if it’s internet based transmission of audio material, I’ve found a lot of formerly great old music unlistenable using that media due to lack of “headroom” or sense of space around instruments, especially the vibraphone which requires room to “breathe” - internet audio is compressed and lacks dynamic range.
Yes, Pandora is an internet music streaming service. I have "Pandora Plus", which I assumed was high quality, but I just now googled it and found that the bit-rate is 192 Kbps, which apparently is not all that great in comparison to other streaming services, so you might be on to something, although I've been quite happy with Pandora's sound quality--until now!
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:03 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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Yeah, from the basic standards discussed and measured spec wise in audiophile stereo review magazines back in the 1980s, internet transmission is kind of like going back to listening to music on AM radio.
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:33 PM
Sonics Sonics is offline
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Default Ahem...

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Old 01-17-2020, 04:45 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agfsteve View Post
I'm trying to get into some Jazz, so I created a "Charlie Christian" station on Pandora, and I'm liking it for the most part (although Pandora seems to be throwing a little too much Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins at me right now), but I find the Vibraphone to be annoying in some of the Charlie Christian songs, which I have otherwise enjoyed.

I didn't even know the "offending" instrument was a vibraphone; I thought it was a xylophone or glockenspiel until I googled it and found that it was the vibraphone, played by Lionel Hampton, in The Benny Goodman Sextet.

I did a quick search on AGF to see if this has been discussed before, and I found an old thread started by someone who "hated" the sound of the vibraphone, and there was an almost unanimous response from those that actually liked the vibraphone, so there you go, but it's not for me.
I like Hamp's playing.



If the audio quality is so poor that listeners can't tell vibes from xylophone or glockenspiel than it's really not worth whatever you're paying for it (including if it's free!).

Also, there's no such thing as "too much Lester Young".
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:45 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Agfsteve, what was it that you didn't like? I'm curious... I played vibes for several years. I think it's a beautiful instrument. When I was playing, Lionel Hampton, Gary Burton and Milt Jackson were "The Big Three." Remarkable musicians.

I agree about the compressed sound of streaming music, but was that the only problem? Did the other instruments sound equally bad?
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:56 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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Originally Posted by Sonics View Post
For all the compromises in audio quality, that was amazing and worth the trade off for increased exposure to concert footage. Also appreciated the Jeff Beck clips you provided today.

I’m also with Frank - there’s never too much Lester Young (and Billie Holiday)

Vibraphone is one of my very favourite instruments in jazz - I’m a big fan of Gary Burton, Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson, and there are other younger bright lights following in the tradition of the “Vibe”
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:04 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Man, don't like the vibes? I can't help you there. One of my favorite instruments...and such a key part of those Goodman/Christian recordings.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:05 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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When I was a senior in HS, I got to go to a workshop and performance by Gary Burton. Wow, it was incredible! Lots of fun for a kid.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:19 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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When I was a senior in HS, I got to go to a workshop and performance by Gary Burton. Wow, it was incredible! Lots of fun for a kid.
That would be kind of a life changing event - I wonder about the state of jazz programs across America these days in the high schools and what not - I’m sure it’s still a blitzkrieg of spoken poetry (hip hop) at street level, but there’s something universal about purely instrumental music.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:19 PM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
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Amazing playing, but definitely not my cup of tea.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:29 PM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
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Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
If the audio quality is so poor that listeners can't tell vibes from xylophone or glockenspiel than it's really not worth whatever you're paying for it (including if it's free!).
No, the quality is fine, or at least I thought it was fine until I googled it, but seriously, I don't think the audio quality is the issue with me and vibraphone music. To clarify, it's not the sound quality that made me unable to distinguish a vibraphone from a xylophone, etc., it's simply that I did not know the difference!

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Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
Also, there's no such thing as "too much Lester Young".
Too much Lester Young, for me, is when there's too much of Lester Young's breath in his notes. I'm not sure what the terminology is, but I dislike it when you can hear too much of the saxophonist's actual breath at the start of each note or phrase. But I think I have liked (clicked the Pandora thumbs up sign) a few of Lester's tunes so far.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:44 PM
agfsteve agfsteve is offline
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Originally Posted by Kerbie View Post
Agfsteve, what was it that you didn't like? I'm curious... I played vibes for several years. I think it's a beautiful instrument. When I was playing, Lionel Hampton, Gary Burton and Milt Jackson were "The Big Three." Remarkable musicians.

I agree about the compressed sound of streaming music, but was that the only problem? Did the other instruments sound equally bad?
I'm not sure what it is about the vibraphone sound that I don't like, but I don't think it has anything to do with the audio quality, now that I think of it; the other instruments sounded fine, in terms of audio quality, although these are recordings from back in the late thirties / early forties.

One possibility is that with the vibraphone (and other percussive, melodic instruments) you can't bend a note or slide into a note, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Also, for want of a better word, vibraphones sound "cheesy" or corny to me. At least with a piano (another percussive, melodic instrument) you don't have that "clunk" on every note, even though the piano still suffers from the lack of bending / sliding ability.

I dunno, maybe vibraphone is just an acquired taste, like jazz in general is to a lot of people.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:34 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agfsteve View Post
I'm not sure what it is about the vibraphone sound that I don't like, but I don't think it has anything to do with the audio quality, now that I think of it; the other instruments sounded fine, in terms of audio quality, although these are recordings from back in the late thirties / early forties.

One possibility is that with the vibraphone (and other percussive, melodic instruments) you can't bend a note or slide into a note, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Also, for want of a better word, vibraphones sound "cheesy" or corny to me. At least with a piano (another percussive, melodic instrument) you don't have that "clunk" on every note, even though the piano still suffers from the lack of bending / sliding ability.

I dunno, maybe vibraphone is just an acquired taste, like jazz in general is to a lot of people.
Very interesting, Steve. Actually, it is possible to bend a note on vibes, but it's a little tricky and not a frequent technique. As to the "clunk," I think that could partially be due to the type of mallet chosen. They can vary from very hard and metallic to very soft like a yarn fabric. Probably not for everybody, but for what it's worth, here's a demo of bending notes on vibes... He's demonstrating the technique, so he's emphasizing it. Usually, when you see this technique, it's done much more sparingly.

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