A few years ago, I was in New York writing about Baltimore native Joe Holtzman and his amazing magazine, Nest. While there, I got talking to Nest's hotshot graphic designer, Tom Beckham, who doubles as a hotshot jazz musician. A vibraphonist, Beckham's been developing a solid body of work. His vibrant playing made 2006's Center Songs a delightful and surprising listen, and his impressive chops make his new disc, Rebound, similarly satisfying. Blending a keen melodic sense with dynamic playing, he wields a mean mallet and coaxes a wide range of feeling and texture from his instrument. You may think the vibraphone, by its very nature, is capable of exuding little more than a sense of mellowed calm, but Beckham hammers away at that perception on spirited tunes such as "Carnival" and "Grillin'."
Tomorrow night, you can hear Beckham and his band play the new material at Twins in D.C. The ride down I-95 will be worth it. On Friday, Beckham conducts a vibes clinic at DeMatha High, his alma mater.