Popularized by Lionel Hampton, the vibraphone is from the same family as the marimba and xylophone. Over the past couple of decades, the instrument has found its place among both the Latin and jazz music scenes thanks to the likes of Tito Puente, Gary Burton (who introduced the four-mallet technique), and New Orleans percussionist Jason Marsalis, the youngest of that famous clan.
It's also the vehicle for electric vibist Richard Andrew Sprince, leader of New World Beat, a local group that mixes elements of Brazilian, African, Latin contemporary jazz, and electronica. Emerging is an innovative and intriguing style that Sprince describes as "a vibraphone version of Pat Metheny's sound."
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Formed by Sprince, Alvaro Bermudez (electric and acoustic guitars), Agustin Conti (electric bass), and Victor Bastidas (drums and percussion), New World Beat is very new on the scene. In fact the band debuted just this past June, when it played for an enthusiastic audience at South Beach's Van Dyke, which has been hosting regular jazz concerts since a recent change of management.