Bobby Hutcherson Quartet – live in Cologne, Germany – March 13, 1977. During a year already crammed with way too many passings, the loss of Bobby Hutcherson last week at the age of 75 was a poignant one. A big influence among vibe players coming up, Hutcherson carried on the tradition set down by Milt Jackson and made it his own.
From his debut collaboration in 1960, with Les McCann‘s Trio, Hutcherson went on to collaborate with a veritable who’s who of notables in the Jazz world over the years.
Voted “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” by Downbeat magazine in 1964, Bobby Hutcherson recorded his first session as leader in 1963 (although that album, The Kicker, wasn’t issued until 1999). Blue Note did release his follow-up album, Dialogue as his debut album in 1965, and it began a long and legendary association with the iconic label over the next 20+ years. It also marked Hutcherson as one of the longest recorded artists in Blue Note’s celebrated history (second only to Horace Silver).
This concert comes via WDR Radio in Cologne, during one of Bobby Hutcherson’s many European tours throughout his career. He is joined by Manny Boyd on tenor and flute, James Leary on bass and Eddie Marshall on drums. It was recorded in WDR’s Saal 1 studio in Cologne on March 13, 1977.
Downbeat Magazine writer Dan Quellette offered this observation in 2013: “Hutcherson took the vibes to a new level of jazz sophistication with his harmonic inventions and his blurring-fast, four-mallet runs… Today, he’s the standard bearer of the instrument and has a plenitude of emulators to prove it.”
And it’s that sentiment which makes his passing all the more profound. He was the standard bearer and the influence and he was widely admired by his peers, making our loss all the more significant and his memory all that much more important.
RIP: Bobby Hutcherson (1941-2016)