May 27, 2024

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Bobby Hutcherson is the most accomplished vibraphonist of his generation: Video

27.01. – Happy Birthday !!! NEA jazz master Bobby Hutcherson is the most accomplished vibraphonist of his generation. He is a master of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic improvisation on both the vibes and the marimba. He has performed or recorded with nearly every major living jazz musician.

Born in Los Angeles in 1941, and raised in Pasadena, Hutcherson took a few piano lessons at an early age. But, he says, “I only played piano for my own enjoyment.” Returned to the vibes after hearing the music of Milt Jackson. “One day I was walking down the street and I heard one of his records and that started it I have never tried to directly copy his style, but he’s been a great influence on me…” He briefly studied the vibes with Dave Pike.

While still a teenager, Hutcherson worked around Los Angeles with such top musicians as Charles Lloyd and Curtis Amy. In 1960 he toured the country with a group led by AI Grey and BilIy Mitchell before settling in New York in 1961. He worked on and off with Jackie McLean for a year, quickly earning a reputation for his full, fresh sound on an instrument that was still a rarity in jazz. From the 1960’s he played with some of the leading New York players, such as Hank Mobley, Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy, Charles Tolliver, Herbie Hancock and Grachan Moncur, III. He began recording as a sideman during this period, appearing on records with Eric Dolphy, Dolly McLean, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Dexter Gotdon, Andrew Hill, McCoy Tyner and Grant Green.

In 1964, at the age of 23, Hutcherson won the Downbeat critic’s poll as “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” on the vibes. The following year he played with Gil Fuller’s big band at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and cut his first recording as a leader, Dialogue, on the Blue Note label. He continued to record with Blue Note for the next twelve years. During this time Bobby released two masterful recordings for Blue Note Records “Stick Up!” and “Dialogue” that would define the vibraphone as a jazz instrument for decades to come.

From 1967 to 1971 he led a quintet with Harold Land. Among those who belonged to the group as sidemen were the pianists Chick Corea, Stanley Cowell, and Joe Sample; the double bass players Reggie Johnson and Albert Stinson; and the drummers Donald Bailey and Billy Higgins.

Hutcherson moved to San Francisco in 1971 and won the International Jazz Critic’s Poll as the “World’s Best Vibest.” During the ’70s and ’80s he performed and recorded regularly as a guest or co-leader, appearing on records with McCoy Tyner, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. He signed with Columbia in 1978 & and recorded the highly acclaimed “Highway One Conception: The Gift of Love” and “Un Poco Loco”. In 1979 he performed as part of an all-star jazz group at the historic Havana Jam Music Festival in Cuba. From 1981 he toured internationally and made recordings as a member of the Timeless All-Stars, with Harold Land, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Buster Williams and Billy Higgins.

In 1985, when veteran producer Orrin Keepnews launched his adventurous new jazz label, Landmark Records, the first release was Hutcherson’s “Good Bait”. He has gone on to record “Color Schemes”, “In the Vanguard”, “Cruisin’ the Bird”, “Ambos Mundos” and “Mirage” on the Landmark Label. In 1986 he was featured in the Warner Brothers release, Round Midnight along with Dexter Gordon and Herbie Hancock.

In 1994, on the Blue Note label, he recorded Manhattan Moodes, a duo recording with McCoy Tyner. This is a collaboration that has continued to wow Jazz Audiences for over a decade. In 2003 – he again recorded with McCoy Tyner on “Land of Giants” (Telarc Records). The tour that followed this recording along with Charnott Moffett on bass and Eric Harland on drums resulted in some of the most stunning music in recent jazz memory.

In 1999 Bobby Hutcherson recorded the critically acclaimed CD “Skyline” for Verve Records. Skyline’s all-star alignment, with pianist Geri Allen, bassist Christian McBride, drummer AI Foster, and special guest saxophonist Kenny Garrett, exemplifies the high standards to which Hutcherson holds himself, as well as his penchant for testing himself in new waters.

Beginning in 2007 Bobby Hutcherson made a series of recordings with Kind of Blue Records. The first recording in the series titled “For Sentimental Reasons” was a recording of classic standards and showcased Bobby Hutcherson at his most melodic. Accompanying Bobby on this date were Renee Rosnes on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass, and Al Foster on drums. In 2010 Bobby Hutcherson released “Wise One” on Kind of Blue Records to wide critical acclaim. This recording was a reflection on the work of John Coltrane and featured Bobby’s longtime touring band from the San Francisco Bay Area with Joe Gilman on piano, Glenn Richman on bass, Anthony Wilson on guitar and Eddie Marshall on drums. In 2012 a scintillating live recording from Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola titled “Somewhere In the Night” on Kind of Blue Records featuring Bobby Hutcherson with the Joey DeFrancsco Trio was released.

In 2014, Blue Note Records released an all-star collaboration titled “Enjoy The View” with Bobby Hutcehrson, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco, & Bill Hart.

Bobby Hutcherson was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2010 and during that year he toured with fellow NEA Jazz Master pianist Cedar Walton in a quartet along with David Williams on bass and Eddie Marshall on drums to celebrate this honor. At the 2012 NEA Jazz Master awards Bobby Hutcherson performed in a Duo with Kenny Barron in tribute to Charlie Haden. Although now afflicted with emphazima, Bobby Hutcherson’s performance was spell bounding and is cited as the finest performance ever done at an NEA Jazz Masters ceremony. Today Bobby Hutcherson performs infrequently in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Of his approach to music and life today Bobby Hutcherson states: “I want to squeeze as much life as I can into the day and at the end of the day, when I’m exhausted, I say ‘Well. I don’t think I can do any more today, I’ll start again tomorrow’,” “I’m in a different phase of my life right now and really enjoying where I am,” Hutcherson says. “With music, I found something that I could devote the rest of my life to. If I hear people talking about how they want to make a record and make a lot of money, I want to say ‘No, no, no, no. no. That’s not what it’s about. You’re rich already, just to be involved in this music. How about the thrill of participating instead of vying for a certain position? Enjoy being tossed around in the sphere of life and love being tumbled around inside that bowl. Jockeying for position to get on top of that bowl is a dangerous proposition. I just want to be able to walk into a room, go about my business and leave, having caused the whole room to change.”

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