‘… one of the best jazz vibraphonists on the planet.’ -Modern Drummer Magazine
Of his last album, ‘The Color of Wood’: ‘…All things considered the album proves itself to be one of the year’s top new albums overall…’ -Phil’s Picks
‘…a graceful, ruminative sway. He maintains the song structure, but with freewheeling agility.’ -Scott Yanow
Tom Collier, playing it all; the Vanderplas electric vibraphone, acoustic vibraphone, marimba, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Rhodes electric piano, organ, synthesizer, synth bass, and drums, ‘one of the best jazz vibraphonists on the planet’ creates a special “Volume 1” to this remarkable series of three recordings of some of the catchiest tunes of the Baby Boomer Generation!
The Boomer Vibes Series represents a culmination of nearly 70 years of experience from ‘… one of the best jazz vibraphonists on the planet.’
Nearly 70 years of experience and musical influence are brought to fruition on this incredible series of Baby Boomer “VIBES”… This is VOLUME 1.
Collier presents an accessible, surreal program of familiar tunes from the defined ‘baby boomer’ generation.
Unlike all previous album projects Collier has recorded over the past forty years, Boomer Vibes, Volume One (and two and three) represent his first recordings of songs he didn’t compose. Instead, he recorded three albums worth of songs from the 1960s and ’70s that were especially important in his life for one reason or another. This album is also his first “do it yourself” album in over ten years. He plays every instrument on these tracks (with two exceptions as noted); he realized quickly that the multi-tracking process is much easier in 2022 with the advent of computer-based recording technology as opposed to the analog track bouncing process between tape recorders in the 1960s.
You’re going to enjoy this!
Vibraphonist, Tom Collier has spent the last forty years of his life in the music business. This album is one of three albums that will be issued on Summit Records, documenting songs that were important during his life story. This album, Volume One, choses songs from the 1960s through the 1970s. Collier calls this his ‘do it yourself’ album because he plays multiple instruments. He only enlists musicians on two of the tracks, a guitarist on Track #2, “At Last” and he adds Ed Kraft on acoustic bass on the song, “Just a Little Lovin.” Collier plays the first tune solo, overlapping instrumentation to play his version of Frank Zappa’s “Magic Fingers” tune. In 1975, he arrived in Los Angeles from Seattle and was hired by a studio percussionist named Emil Richards to sub for him. Collier discovered it was at Frank Zappa rehearsal, where Zappa was preparing for an orchestra concert at Royce Hall on UCLA’s campus. Tom was thrilled to be working with the legendary musician. Little did he know that Zappa was also impressed to work with Tom Collier. It seems Zappa noticed that Tom Collier could play the rather complex percussion parts without any problem. A few months later, Tom Collier got a call to join the “Mothers of Invention rehearsal” and, when Zappa’s mallet player and percussionist left that band, Frank offered the gig to Tom Collier. Unfortunately, at that time it just wasn’t the best fit for Collier to accept Zappa’s offer. But he always loved Zappa’s music and it shows during this funk-driven, contemporary music production. Tom plays all the instruments; bass, bass synthesizer, electric piano, marimba, acoustic vibraphone, and Vanderplas electric vibraphone. It’s a very impressive production. On Track #2, that features the R&B standard, “At Last,” Tom invites Eddie Pick McCord on guitar to fatten the arrangement. Believe it or not, way before Etta James wrapped her emotional delivery around this ‘doo-wap’ tune, it was recorded in 1942 by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
“… My recording of the song is somewhat patterned after Etta’s recording and I was inspired to emulate her bluesy vocal style on the least likely of blues instruments, the marimba,” Tom shared.
Collier covers Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” Thom Bell and Linda Creed’s “People Make the World Go Round” and several other songs from the 60s and 70s, including Mick Jagger’s famed “Wild Horses.” Although the multi-tracking process is easier today, with the advent of computer-based recording technology, I still prefer the warm sound of analog tracks and the camaraderie of live musicians. Still, Collier is exposing the beauty and creativity he has inside of himself using this technique. The music pours out of him like a rainbow as he plays every instrument, with the exception of the two tracks I mentioned earlier. This is a celebration, by a talented vibraphonist and multi-talented musician, that spotlights his ability to create product as a solo multi-instrumentalist.
Mallet keyboardist Tom Collier initiates a projected three-part series with Boomer Vibes Volume 1, a collection of arrangements that feature songs American Baby Boomers will immediately recognize (“Wild Horses,” “One Fine Day,” “Both Sides Now”) along with a couple of oddities — Frank Zappa’s “Magic Fingers,” the relatively obscure Beatles B-side “Yes It Is.” All are arranged for various combinations of vibes, marimba, other keyboards, drums, etc. and all are played by Collier (with a guest guitarist on one track and a bassist on another). Not every selection seems like it returns full value for effort — there’s nothing in Collier’s arrangement of “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” that makes me think there was more to this song than I originally thought — but many shed new light on familiar tunes. His setting of “People Make the World Go ‘Round” is particularly interesting and insightful, and against all my expectations, he made me think about The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” in a completely new way. Recommended to all jazz collections.