The vibraphone, a percussion instrument with melodic possibilities, turns out to be theoretically an ideal instrument for the jazz, but in spite of it only it has been imposed slowly in the formations and bent since it does not allow the execution of a sound jazzistico, on not having been able to modulate its stamp any more than by means of the vibrato applied by electrical connection or by blows of different intensity. Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson are considered to be the most important vibrafonistas of jazz, the first one in the most traditional ambience and the second one in the modern jazz. Hampton – along with Network Norvo – introduced the instrument in the jazz to the beginning of the age of the swing, while Jackson popularized it at the head of the famous persons Modern Jazz Quartet.
Charlie Shoemake, a vibrafonist of the school of the bop associated with the figure of George Shearing did not obtain the recognition that was deserving, and, with others like Terry Gibbs, Teddy Charles, Cal Tjader and Victor Feldman, it was part of the first generation of important vibrafonistas, along with other young people like Eddie Costa, Tommy Vig, Lem Winchester, Larry Bunker and Mike Mainieri. Gary Burton, Walt Dickerson, Tom Van Der Geld and Bobby Hutcherson gathered the witness of Milt Jackson, and they would extend enormously the possibilities of the instrument. Burton combines a tender lyricism with a big virtuosity, synthesizing influences as diverse as that of Bill Evans, the musical country music or the hillbilly. Dickerson has moved the ideas of John Coltrane to the vibraphone, while Hutcherson combines the tradition of the bebop and of Milt Jackson with the Coltrane influence, inaugurating a new stage as for sound of its instrument. David Friedman has collaborated with also vibrafonista Dave Samuels in different projects, in which the possibilities have multiplied of vibraphone
Between the vibrafonistas who have emphasized in the world of the jazz rock and the jazz merger there are Roy Ayers, Dave Pike, Mike Mainieri, Jay Hoggard and Ruth Underwood (known especially by its work with Frank Zappa), in addition to the Germans established in the United States Gunter Hampel and Karl Berger. Bobby Naughton, Earl Griffith and Jay Hoggard are at the head of the avant-garde of the free jazz in its instrument, at the time that they dominate everything its tradicion. Joe Locke, finally, is inspired by the educations of Milt Jackson and by those of Bobby Hutcherson to settle like one of the best vibrafonistas of the century XXI.