Tom Collier is a bit of a character as, can be attested by the YouTube videos below. He has served as Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Washington since 1980. In 2011, he was appointed Chair of Jazz Studies at the school, and was awarded the Adelaide D. Currie Cole Endowed Professorship in the School of Music for the academic years 2011-2014. He is, indeed, having a good year. His last recording, Mallett Fantasique (Origin Classical, 2010), received much praise in print. On Plays Haydn, Mozart, Telemann and Others, Collier interprets the 18th Century classical repertoire on the vibes to interesting and great effect.
As it turns out, there is nothing new about playing classical music on the vibes. Classical pieces have long been used as practice items for the vibraphonist, offering a dual melodic and technical challenge. Collier selects a cross-section of the classical violin repertoire in Spohr, Haydn, Mozart, and Krommer. Interestingly, these composers were also the period's foremost writers for the clarinet. Played on vibraphone and marimba, the pieces' earlier Baroque influences can best be heard. The single Baroque composer included here is George Philipp Telemann, whose Duet in G Major for Violin and Flute provides Collier, perhaps, with his most challenging and sumptuous material. The melodies will be familiar.
Collier closes with the most familiar in Mozart's Allegro From "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," which he plays with grace and aplomb. He follows this with Niccolo Paganini's Moto Perpetuo In C Major, Opus 11 as realized by violinist Fritz Kreisler. This is fun music in any case, and having it played on the vibes by such a talented character as Collier is just gravy.