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On the Lower East Side is an appropriate title for this hard bop date, which Steve Hobbs really did record on Manhattan's Lower East Side. It was in that part of New York that the vibist/marimba player formed a cohesive quartet with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Victor Lewis. Barron's solos alone make this CD worth the price of admission, but Hobbs is no slouch either. Although not as well known as he deserves to be, Hobbs is an expressive, swinging improviser with a recognizable sound. Though influences like Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson serve him well, Hobbs is definitely his own person. This is apparent on inspired versions of overdone warhorses (including "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "The Song Is You") as well as Hobbs originals that range from the Brazilian-flavored "Pedra Bonita" to the intriguing "Song for Chet" (which the jazzman wrote after learning about trumpeter Chet Baker's mysterious death in May 1988). One of the CD's most imaginative tracks is "Amazing Grace," which works quite well in a bop setting. On the Lower East Side isn't Hobbs' most essential release, but it's still an album that he can be proud of.


Född: Raleigh, NC

Genre: Dance

Aktiva år: '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the more talented vibraphonists to come up in the late '80s, Steve Hobbs' style is bop-based but fairly original. He studied at Berklee, the University of Miami, and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and freelanced in Denver for six years with such players as Tom Harrell, Joe Bonner, Spike Robinson, and Stix Hooper. Hobbs eventually moved back to Raleigh, where he...
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On the Lower East Side, Steve Hobbs
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