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Excellent: Catch some truly unique sounds at the Music on the Steps concert, Monday.
BY CRAIG SCHULIN
They call the music they play skiffle lounge.
It's a fusion of old-time skiffle music--an early variation of jazz that included homemade instruments--with the smooth, laid-back lounge sound of the vibraphone.
Harry Wilson, Larry Hinkle, Ryan Hale and John Buck are, appropriately enough, Harry, Larry, Hale & Buck, a local quartet that has been making a name for itself with its unique sound.
"It started real casual," said vocalist and ukulele player Hinkle.
Hinkle, a woodworker and former hard-core punk guitarist, was looking to make xylophones and asked Wilson for technical advice. From there, the jamming began in Hinkle's workshop.
Buck, whose background includes a formal musical education in jazz and a professional career in a fusion-rock group, plays with Hinkle in a local band, the Transmitters.
He and Wilson have performed together as a jazz ensemble.
Wilson is a veteran vibraphone player, having studied at the Granoff School of Music in Philadelphia and later a member of jazz artist Sun Ra's Arkestra.
Ra, whom Wilson described as a musical child prodigy, had a profound effect on him.
"He embraced you," Wilson said. "He was all about focusing on the positive."
And that, a positive, uplifting, good time, is what Harry, Larry, Hale & Buck are bringing to their audiences with music they are writing and performing.
An unexpected outcome from their music has been the reaction from children.
"Kids really dig what we do," said Hinkle.
"It's something about the sound, the ukulele along with the vibes, that they seem to love."
Throw in the bass playing of Buck and the snare drum and the suitcase--yes a real suitcase, with a deep thumping sound played by Hale--and it creates a scene and sound little children can't stop dancing to.
"We're kicking around the idea of doing a children's CD," added Hinkle.
This Monday, the quartet will be the featured act for the summer Music on the Steps concert series at the library downtown.
"We're having a lot of fun, playing good music," said Hinkle.
"We added Ryan [Hale] a couple of months ago and he's brought along a really good vocal presence along with the percussion," said Hinkle.
The group also plays once a month at the Otter House and twice a month on Saturday afternoon at the 909 Saloon.
Craig Schulin: 540/374-5000