Photo by Brenna Brock
The vibraphone has long held a special place in jazz circles where musicians like Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson became adept at wrangling the sparkling, swirling sound back in the 1940s. Austin’s Benko, though, uses it differently. For over a decade, the trio has flirted with the “experimental” tag, though that’s just shorthand for “indescribable.” Distorted bass and drums drive Benko’s songs, all while Sarah Norris’s beautiful vibraphone playing floats above. The group just released a new album called The Civil Service, and they stopped by our Studio 1A to play a few songs from it. Download a live version of “American Writer” below.