Mike Dirubbo

Mike DiRubbo, alto saxophonist, has repercussion. The vibraphone is now the rhythm section’s harmonic instrument. The mainstream has accepted both guitar-based and non-piano-based rhythm sections, while the vibraphone-based section is still an innovation. DiRubbo is not the only one to use such a format. Trombonist Grachan Montcur III’s Evolution (Blue Note 1963) featured Bobby Hutcherson as the vibraphonist and Wayne Escoffery as the saxophonist. Joe Locke was used to great effect in Veneration: Live At Smoke (Savant Records 2007). Fo’Tet Augmented (Criss cross, 2004) is a drummer Ralph Peterson’s show that pits vibraphonist Bryan Carrott against clarinetist Don Byron. When used as a substitute for a piano, the vibraphone creates more open space and charges the other instruments with carrying extra creative water. This makes it ideal for soloing or as a harmony instrument. They aren’t leading the date, but enough about vibes. DiRubbo is an alto-saxophonist, and a damn good one. His tone sounds a lot like King Curtis and Dexter Gordon’s tenorsaxophones. These characteristics are clearly demonstrated by DiRubbo’s opening minor blues, “Repercussion”. Nelson sets down a skeleton rhythm that was picked up by Tony Reedus and bassist Dwayneburno (who died shortly after the recording). Nelson’s tone sounds like a marimba and DiRubbo sings with a calm, understated style through his solo and serpentine head. Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke”, one of two standards, is on the disc. It’s presented in a cool manner, and doesn’t stray far from the Miles Davis (Columbia 1957) session. DiRubbo maintains his groove throughout the disc, providing a full-bodied jazz offering. –C. Michael Bailey – AllAboutJazz.com

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