Corey Mwamba


A reminiscence

I suppose it's just getting to that time of year again. I was thinking about people from the past. And a name popped into my head that I hadn't thought about for a while, but actually could be classed as a strong reason why I stuck with the vibraphone as an instrument.

If you've read the About me pages [and why wouldn't you? They're literally full of information, and you'd be at least twenty thousand points up on any journalist I've spoken to] you'll know that I spent some of my years in Southampton. There was a band there run by Chris Walker who played drums and sang; they played trad and swing. Occasionally he had a dazzling vibes player join the group called Tan Smart. Tan always used to play Cherokee at a ridiculous tempo.

As in the style of Hampton and early Norvo, the sustain pedal wasn't used much but the "vibrato" motor was set fairly high! As I remember, he leaned towards Hampton more in his soloing; but the harmonies Tan would play were really advanced and his sense of space was startling. For me at the time [I was a harmony freak back then; one arpeggio after another!] it was all very thrilling and new.

I spoke to him a few times, and he was always warm and friendly, showing enthusiasm for another musician wanting to play the instrument. Does anyone know what happened to him?

comments (0)

Sign in to comment using almost any profile.