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Live Review: Vibraphonist Tyler Blanton at Subculture New York

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Tyler Blanton


Subculture on New York's Bleeker street provided a perfect setting for vibraphonist Tyler Blanton's packed CD release party. Blanton's unique and introspective style impressed with its calm; leading without overwhelming, while giving his bandmates room to shine.

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His first piece, “Never Sleeps” began with a slowly developing vibraphone ostinato which developed through much of the piece. Blanton unobtrusively lead the changes while bassist Matt Clohesy created richly melodic bass sound that blended without losing character. The end came fast, furious and unexpected, keeping the audience very much involved.

The second piece of the night, “Gotham” started out introspectively, gradually adding more and more sound. Drummer Nate Wood started to really shine in this piece, taking off on the set and creating sounds that put you right in the heart of a busy city, perhaps New York City? Saxophonist Donny McCaslin also made his mark on this piece with an expressive solo that covered the range of the instrument. The energy of the entire ensemble was in sync on this one!

“Freaky Dream” also lived up to its name. Blanton's writing showed great subtlety, combining short sweet riffs from the vibraphone with an approachable and melodic sax solo. “Cogs” again showed the band off individually and as a whole. While the drums and sax took off on flights of fancy, Matt Clohsey's steady bass held the center.

In addition to Blanton's unique style on the vibraphone, he also applies his talent to the Malletkat, an electronic vibraphone-like instrument that produces a wide array of sonic sounds. The Malletkat made appearances in both “Cogs” and “Tunnels”, adding unexpected color to both pieces. Blanton's talent on his two chosen instruments and as a writer made this performance lovely to listen to, and his calm was wonderful to watch. Get his latest album, “Gotham” on Itunes and see his website for upcoming performances.