So for the longest time my favorite vibraphonist was Gary Burton and he still may be my favorite, but coming in a close second is Milt Jackson, who would have celebrated his 89th birthday today! From Wikipedia:
Milton “Bags” Jackson (January 1, 1923 – October 9, 1999) was an American jazz vibraphonist, usually thought of as a bebop player, although he performed in several jazz idioms. He is especially remembered for his cool swinging solos as a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet and his penchant for collaborating with several hard bop and post-bop players.
A very expressive player, Jackson differentiated himself from other vibraphonists in his attention to variations on harmonics and rhythm. He was particularly fond of the twelve-bar blues at slow tempos. He preferred to set the vibraphone’s oscillator to a low 3.3 revolutions per second (as opposed to Lionel Hampton’s speed of 10 revolutions per second) for a more subtle vibrato. On occasion, Jackson would also sing and play piano professionally.Complete Biography
I have several Milt Jackson albums in my music library now and I hope to keep the number rising, because there’s a lot of them out there! So here’s some night music from Milt Jackson, Art Farmer and Benny Colson as they perform “Bags Grove” with a special guest Toots Thielemans, probably one of the greatest harmonica players of all time! I confess I know little about Toots, most of the harp players know play the blues – so I think there will be some Toots Thielemans being played tomorrow. So take some time and listen to the music on this video because it’s awesome!