Which famous musician plays the xylophone?

Answer

One of the most recognizable xylophone players in contemporary jazz is Gary Burton, according to an interview posted to Blogcritics in 2012. Burton recently collaborated on a 40th anniversary project with Chick Corea. The xylophonist uses the four-mallet method and can play as many as five notes at once on a standard xylophone.

Burton has been playing the xylophone since he was six. He came into prominence in the 1960s after he moved to Boston and mastered the four-mallet method. Burton explained in the interview that he wasn't the first person to use four mallets (two in each hand) on a xylophone, and that he simply popularized it during a time when the xylophone gained notoriety as an instrument.

Another famous xylophonist is Ian Finkel. He has written and played for such greats as Sid Caesar, Michael Feinstein, Ginger Rogers, Martin Mull, Madeline Kahn, Tito Puente and Larry Gatlin. Best At Sea states that Finkel performed on Broadway in New York and authored books on mastering the instrument.

Famoro Dioubate is the grandson of legendary Guinean balafonist Elehaj Djeli Surie Kouyate. The Brooklyn Rail reports that Dioubate's specialty is making and playing traditional West African balafones, the precursor to modern xylophones. The balafonist's instruments are made of wood from his native land.

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