Originally released in 2008 on the now-defunct Apria label, this recording is currently being released digitally.
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. - Jazz.com
Tom Beckham has a refreshing approach to the vibraphone. He plays it with a gentle ear for harmony and development, with ideas that are wrapped in crystalline notes.
The music, all of which was composed by Beckham, takes on varied shades. His sense of time and rhythm, combined with his extrapolations on chords, lead to some interesting music.
"Tethered" serves as a fine opener, acknowledging Beckham's ability to carve a niche for his writing and then take it out and give it a new semblance. Pace is in constant flux, with Chris Cheek upping it on saxophone as he lays down a slew of buoyant ideas. Henry Hey stays in the zone on the piano, but when Beckham comes in, the pace slows down and the band takes the tune out with a warm empathy.
Beckham invests a lot of space into the head of "Cee's and Dee's" before he rolls into the melody. He seeps it in delicacy, as opposed to Cheek who cuts in deep, each line a furrow into the melodic soul of the composition. Cheek's ability to change pulse and direction seamlessly develops the tune to a nicety. He is complemented first by Hey and then by Beckham, who lights up the path with his translucent presence.
An undercurrent of Brazilian rhythm informs "World Cup." It's an inviting tune that draws attention no sooner than when Beckham traipses in. His explorations are vibrant and colorful and, with Cheek taking a breathy tangent, this is one sweet, tangy outing. - J. DeSouza, Allaboutjazz.com