Sitting In: Joe Locke’s ‘Great Vibes’ Playlist

Our ‘Sitting In’ series invites guest artists to curate playlists for Today’s featured artist is vibraphonist Joe Locke. To skip straight to the playlist, click here.

Joe Locke is a World Vibes Congress Hall of Famer whose most recent record, Subtle Disguise, combines the spontaneity of jazz with the spirit of poetry and the intimacy of folk music. It’s a musical profile he has developed over the course of a long and multi-faceted career, during which he has collaborated with a wide range of artists, from Cecil Taylor and Kenny Barron to the Beastie Boys and Grover Washington, Jr.

Locke began playing the vibes as a teenager, after his mother encouraged him to take up the glockenspiel in his high school marching band (you can read more about that embarrassing episode here). He was met with early success in the 1990s, playing sideman to the likes of George Cables, Eddie Henderson and Freddy Cole. But it wasn’t long before he was releasing albums under his own name, and in the process becoming one of the most respected vibraphonists in jazz.

Here, he shares with us a playlist of the musicians who most inspire him. Obviously, the list is loaded with vibraphone legends, like Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson and Roy Ayers. But it also includes artists who are writing the next chapter of the jazz vibraphone story.

“In putting together this playlist for JAZZIZ, I wanted to show the wide aesthetic scope the vibraphone is capable of expressing,” says Locke. “In addition, I hope this playlist will serve to expose the listener to some lesser-known, but amazingly gifted artists. Many of the tracks here served to inspire me on my own journey. I’m forever grateful to the great vibes players who created them.”


Listen on: qobuz

Little B’s Poem
Bobby Hutcherson

Red Cloud
Joe Locke
Subtle Disguise

Dave Pike
It’s Time For Dave Pike (Reissue)

Los Dos Lorettas
Mike Maineri
New York City Jazz After Hours

Intimate Dance
Warren Wolf
Warren Wolf

Love Is a Planchette
Joe Locke
Love Is a Pendulum

Milt Jackson, Wes Montgomery
Bags Meets Wes [Keepnews Collection]

The Cape Verdean Blues
Stefon Harris, Blackout
Sonic Creed

Senor Mouse
Gary Burton, Chick Corea
Crystal Silence

Blues We Use
The Jack Wilson Quartet
The Jack Wilson Quartet featuring Roy Ayers

Will You Still Be Mine
Benny Golson, Lem Winchester
Winchester Special

Last Ditch Wisdom
Joe Locke
Love Is a Pendulum

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
Steve Nelson Quartet, Steve Nelson, Mulgrew Miller, Ray Drummond, Tony Reedus

Head Start
Bobby Hutcherson

Make Me Feel Like It’s Raining
Joe Locke
Subtle Disguise

Steps Ahead

I Can’t Make You Love Me
Joe Locke
Lay Down My Heart (Blues & Ballads Vol. 1)

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