Good Vibes Felt All Around During SOhO Jazz Society Event on June 3rd

Mid set, we got an education: “The instrument I play is called The Vibraphone… Not a marimba or a xylophone, but “The Vibraphone!”

A perky Lolly Allen led her quintet which started the Sunday afternoon off on an upbeat high note with a Latin beat romp through the lesser known Horace Silver composition, The Hippest Cat In Hollywood. Lolly endeared us to her charm and gifted touch on that oh so cool sounding instrument… taking just the right amount of time by feeling the music through her body and dancing the count-offs, getting the band in the perfect groove before each tune, and then concentrating on finding just the right notes to strike on her front facing instrument.

Who can forget this band’s synergistic energy, while at the same time we must not fail to mention each player’s unique contributions: Danny Janklow with his jubilant sax sound, Josh Nelson expertly & tastefully covering all 88s on the piano, young Michael Alvidrez holding down the beat grooves on bass, plus veteran drummer Paul Kreibich (a favorite with the Santa Barbara Jazz Society) – each musician having their own stellar solo abilities, meshing together to create an entity which occasionally played unison lines, and at other times filled out the ensemble contrapuntally.

There are two ways vibraphone led quintets often go: One is the George Shearing sound with piano playing block chords joined in exacting octave unison with vibraphone and guitar. The other school of thought more aligns with this band based on Cal Jader and his Modern Mambo Style, where each musician has their role, yet cooperates by filling out the sound with complimentary lines and trading off the comping support of the soloists. This group fit more with the Cal Jader tradition featuring many Brazilian and Latin style tunes.

Lolly Allen shared an original composition based on Gershwin’s “rhythm changes” disguised at first by a Latin beat called, “Little Hummingbird”. Another highlight was a clever & tasty tune written just for her titled, “Lolly’s Folly”. Ms. Allen sang a couple numbers too in the same playful character as her speaking voice, “Almost Like Being In Love”, and took us home and out the club with the crowd pleasing Bobby Troup lyrics to the blues “Route 66”.
Before the Troup closer the Lolly Allen Quintet performed one very sassily swinging version of the Neal Hefti/Bobby Troup tune “Girl Talk”. I told Lolly how I half jokingly picked a fight with Neal Hefti at the Montecito Biltmore Hotel over Troup’s (in my opinion) quite sexist lyrics to “Girl Talk” one nights years ago after our Shearing Style Quintet also performed an instrumental version of that tune.

“Someday I think I’ll write my own lyrics to Girl Talk!” the vibraphonist quipped.

You go for it, Girl! And thanks for all the Great Vibes you and the band shared with the Santa Barbara Jazz Society that June afternoon!

-By Debbie Denke with Natalie Wilson

Photos by Mark McDonald

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