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by Brian Clarey

Roberto Orihela — vibraphonist

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The sound of the vibraphone — a kind of aluminum xylophone — is at once gentle and haunting, lending itself to artful, percussive leads and tonal background rhythm. This week’s Page Three model, Roberto Orihela, came to the vibes after starting as a drummer in his native Cuba before emigrating to the US in 1961.

It was when he discovered jazz on a Manhattan rooftop that his life’s work became clear. “What I heard embodied sophistication, elegance and raw emotion,” he writes on his website, www.robertovibes.com. He’s played with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Arturo Sandoval and Melva Houston, but you can catch him at the Thursday night jazz jam at Churchill’s in Greensboro.

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