A drummer from Chicago; a pianist from Philadelphia; and a bassist from the backroads of McIntosh County. It may seem an odd configuration, but not for the fellas of The Vibe!
And for the members, Michael Alongi, Chuck Reinas, and Cliff Bragdon, it makes total sense.
In fact, this trio is comprised of incredibly talented musicians who found their paths converging a few years back.
Chuck Reinas, who plays the piano, sax, as well as sings, says the three have always meshed well musically.
“We were playing together in a different band. That one didn’t work out, but we all played really well together, so we decided to do our own thing,” Reinas says.
Originally strictly jazz band, their individual musical reputations and obvious chemistry led to a long line of gigs. Today, they can often be found playing special events around the Golden Isles. But they’re also mainstays at area music venues.
“We play a lot on St. Simons,” Bragdon, the bassist, says.
“But we do a few on Jekyll, too, and we’ve played at Tipsy’s and other places in Brunswick,” Alongi, drummer, chimes in.
As their popularity grew, they started picking up more performances. They’ve also decided to experiment with their sound. While the group began as a classic jazz act, they’ve since broadened their reach, incorporating a number of genres into their setlists.
“We really do a little bit of it all. We like to play B side songs a lot, which are probably things that a lot of people haven’t heard,” Reinas says.
Work by Vince Guaraldi and Ellis Marsalis often makes its way into their shows. But they also cover more mainstream acts including Steely Dan, Sting, and Boz Skaggs.
“For a while, people thought of us as just a straight jazz band. So we’ve been trying to move away from that for a while,” Reinas says. “We do more of a fusion now. It’s a pop-jazz-funk fusion.”
The Vibe! guys definitely hold true to the improvisational roots of jazz. They enjoy incorporating new techniques to take listeners down a path they’ve never traveled.
“One thing about our music … we never play the same song the same way twice. It’s different every time,” Reinas says. “So if you come to our show and hear a song, the next time you’ll hear it done differently.”
Their individual backgrounds give them a wealth of knowledge from which to draw.
For instance, Reinas, a long time musician, worked with the Sea Island orchestra for 10 years. All together, he’s played for more than two decades. Alongi, too, has a long history in music. A highly touted drummer and collaborator, he’s worked with major names in the recording industry. He also sits in with a number of groups locally.
Bragdon rounds out the mix. While he’s a bit newer to the game, he’s seen a lot of success, joining one of the area’s all-time favorite bands, Soul Gravy.
“That’s where I started in 2012,” he says.
Now that they’ve formed this crew, they’re excited to see what the next chapter holds. And while playing music is still technically a “job,” they are always grateful to be able to do what they love and share it with audiences.
“These guys are really easy to play with,” Alongi says. “We tend to gel well. We’re on a comparable field, as far as our abilities go. We hang together very well.”
Reinas and Bragdon nod knowingly.
“We do have really good chemistry together,” Bragdon adds.
They love to tune into that to offer crowds the best show they can muster. Their frequent improvisation keeps them on their toes. It also keeps their work exciting.
“We are up there playing a lot, and it’s going really well. We’re kinda looking at each other like, ‘Wow, that was insane,’” Bragdon says with a laugh.
Reinas and Alongi agree.
“When it’s really working and everything is clicking, there’s no place I’d rather be in this world,” Reinas says.