Manhattan Vibes
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Manhattan Vibes


Band Jazz Latin


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The best kept secret in music


"Jazz Times"

Jazz Times Magazine's "2002 Year in Review" issue lists Manhattan Vibes' debut album as a "Top Ten" of the year pick! - 2002 Year In Review

"Latin Beat Magazine"

Christos Rafalides’ Manhattan Vibes

"The self-titled debut of this powerful, vibes-based Latin-jazz-funk trio must represent a pleasant surprise for those music lovers who keep expecting the unexpected (meaning an antidote to the formulaic clichés applied ad infinitum in today’s music scene).

Therefore, one must applaud this trio’s leader / vibraphonist / marimbero/ composer/ arranger, the one and only Christos Rafalides, for not falling into the aforesaid traps, although it must be no-ted that the protagonist from the land of Socrates and Aristotle was fortunate to count on the logistical support of a couple of equally gifted subjects -drummer/ percussionist Steve Hass and electric/ acoustic bassist John Benitez-in addition to several talented guests.

The incendiary mix of originals and standards presents a unique message, as confirmed in the following assessment provided by the New York-based vibraphonist Joe Locke: “This is truly world music; an expression of a global reality as felt in the vibes that permeate the streets of the city we love.”

If you have any doubts, listen to the albums amazing first track, Rafalides, Flamingo Strut or the amusing Rafalides/Benitez arrangement of Tite Curet Alonso’s La Esencia del Guaguanco. (LT) "

- Latin Beat Magazine


"...Rafalides has developed his own attitude about music--an attitude that involves multi-cultural references as well as the significance of danceable rhythms in all of his music.

Manhattan Vibes knows the sound it wants to project, and it has developed its own repertoire and approach to achieve its results. No doubt even more fun in a live club atmosphere, the group, while acknowledging the numerous cultural influences contributing to its musicians' development, projects a sense of fun and discovery. "

- JazzReview.Com

"All About Jazz"

"Wholly percussion-oriented Manhattan Vibes throbs from one piece to the next.... Christos Rafalides is forging a new direction for the vibraphone/marimba. Rhythmically driven and spatially exact, Christos Rafalides' music reaches deep into the Latin consciousness and pulls out the perfect vibe." - All About Jazz

"All Music Guide"

"A talented vibraphonist, Rafalides builds upon this sturdy foundation with imaginative solos and clever orchestrational detail.

A promising debut by a vibist/arranger/composer capable of moving in any of a number of directions in the future."

- All Music Guide

"Pop Matters"

Manhattan Vibes is the first outing under his own name for Rafalides and I think his career could be well worth following.

They say jazz sales are struggling again, but if discs like this were pushed towards the post-acid jazz crowd, then I think they would do much better than with the Mainstream fan to whom they are mostly, at present, directed.
- Pop Matters

"Joe Locke"

Look out! Manhattan Vibes is here! This is the strongest vibe-based trio I' ve ever heard. Whether dealing with latin, funk or jazz, these guys are burning. Manhattan Vibes is a perfect name for this inspired unit. This music could only have been born in New York City. But it' s not just an NYC thing- this is truly world music, an expression of a global reality as felt in the "VIBES" which permeate the streets of this city we love.

Christos, John and Steve are sending a message, one of love and mutual respect. And, oh yeah, joy. Even off stage, it' s obvious that these are three joyful brothers- but put instruments in their hands and that joy becomes tangible in sound.
In a very short time, Christos has grown into an important voice on his instrument- always listening, always pushing himself to the next level. This CD is a great beginning. I can't wait to see what's ahead.

Joe Locke
aclaimed vibraphonist / recording artist
- Aclaimed vibraphonist / Recording artist

"Vibraphonist Rafalides brings Manhattan Vibes to Jazz in the Square"

Christos Rafalides fell in love when he was 16 years old.

The object of his affection was the vibraphone.

Seventeen years later, Rafalides' desire surfaces onstage with the trio The Manhattan Vibes. Rafalides, along with bassist John Benitez and drummer Steve Hass, performs in Syracuse Saturday night on the Jazz in the Square main stage in Clinton Square.

It's a long way from his home country of Greece, where Rafalides first saw the vibes being played during a classical-music concert.

"The instrument was talking to me," Rafalides recalls of the love-at-first-sight moment in a phone interview from his apartment in Manhattan.

"The guy was playing regular, two mallets, nothing crazy. I was a kid; I didn't even know how to describe the instrument to my parents. I was playing piano and drums already as a kid. The vibes combines both percussive and melodic, so it was natural. When I found out you could play with four mallets, I went crazy with it."

Rafalides completed his classical-music training, then traveled to Athens for an audition for the Berklee School of Music. He won a scholarship to the college in Boston, and the journey began in earnest. From Berklee, Rafalides attained his master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music. He studied under Joe Locke, considered an American contemporary master of the vibes.

After that, he played local gigs in Manhattan. That's where he met bass player Benitez, a native of Puerto Rico.

"He got me into Latin music, Latin jazz," Rafalides says.

Rafalides then put a call in to Hass, whom he had befriended when both attended Berklee.

The Manhattan Vibes was born in 1999.

The self-titled debut disc was released on Khaeon World Music in 2001.

"The group, while acknowledging the numerous cultural influences contributing to the musicians' development, projects a sense of fun and discovery," said a critic at Web site

Rafalides says the trio is looking forward to recording another album. All three, however, have other projects. Benitez plays with Chick Chorea and John Scofield, and Hass performs with Manhattan Transfer.

When they get together, though, it's all Manhattan Vibes.
"We try to never lose the essence, the flavor of the groove," says Rafalides, "either from Cuba or Argentina or New York or Greece. We have different cultural backgrounds, Puerto Rico for John, Greece for me, Long Island for Steve.

"Everybody brings his taste and his culture to it," Rafalides says. "Of course, we all like jazz. It's like one of those contemporary paintings you see. You have elements of everything else that that has happened up to now."

Even Locke loves the groove.
"Look out! Manhattan Vibes is here!" he says on the album's liner notes. "This is the strongest vibe-based trio I've ever heard. Whether dealing with Latin, funk or jazz, these guys are burning."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
By Mark Bialczak
Staff writer

- Post Standard - Syracuse


Manhattan Vibes- Debut Release


Feeling a bit camera shy


Christos founded Manhattan Vibes in 1999. With Latin powerhouse bassist John Benitez and the extraordinary young jazz/funk drummer Steve Hass, they immediately became a hit with the downtown Manhattan jazz and latin club audience.

Born in Greece, Christos Rafalides quickly established himself as a new vibraphone talent in his home country. Now a resident of the US, he completed his studies at Berklee College of Music, and the Manhattan school of Music. Aside from being one of NYC’s first call session players, Christos has performed with Jeff “Tain” Watts, Randy Brecker, Keith Carlock (Steely Dan), Roy Hargrove, James Genus, Janis Siegel from Manhattan Transfer, Greg Hutchinson, Jeff Andrews, Adam Rogers, Donny Mccaslin, Antonio Sanchez from Pat Metheny Group, Adam Cruz, Claudia Acuna, Edsel Gomez, Luis Perdomo, Dave Budway, Ron Affif, Steve Hass, John Benitez and numerous other first-call musicians.

On the band's debut release, featured guest artist Randy Brecker's shines. His stellar career includes membership in the pioneering jazz/rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears, and the Brecker Brothers.

On his first release as a leader, vibraphonist Christos Rafalides' Manhattan Vibes have recorded one of the most astonishingly creative, versatile and virtuosic debut albums in recent memory. Starting with a deep groove of tribal African rhythms on the Rafalides original "Flamingo Strut", the "Vibes" take the listener on a spectacular musical journey.

From the contemporary jazz sounds of "Pocket", with guest trumpet soloist Randy Brecker, through the relentless Latin swing of " La esencia del guanguanco" to his stunning takes on "Fool on the Hill", "Caravan" and "All the things you are"-all tracks feature razor-sharp, tightly interlocking multinational grooves of immense power.

With " Manhattan Vibes", Christos Rafalides stakes his claim as the most important new international performer/composer on the vibraphone.

One thing is certain, Manhattan Vibes is the only vibes based trio that appeals to both young and mature audiences, performing a style of music that is very contemporary with influences from all over the world blended together while never loosing the element of dance and groove.