Bobby Hutcherson this weekend. When his passing was announced last August, it brought a flood of tributes and reminiscences from colleagues and critics. The legendary Sonny Rollins was quoted as saying; “I loved playing with Bobby. He’s an exceptionally gifted jazz improviser…. It’s always a lot of fun to play with him, always enlightening, emotional as well as intellectually challenging. Bobby is a very honest person. He couldn’t play the way he does without that honesty. He has an innocence that’s childlike in a way. He’s a great player and a great person, and that helps boost humanity a little bit”.
Hutcherson has been regarded as one of the seminal vibrophonists of the 60s, with such landmark collaborations as with Eric Dolphys Out To Lunch, and was pivotal in the redefining of vibes within the framework of modernist post-bop. Hutcherson had been compared to another legend, Milt Jackson – saying, in effect that Hutcherson was to Jackson what Charlie Parker was to John Coltrane.
Certainly no shortage of accolades and appreciations for one of the artists responsible for shaping modern Jazz from the 1960s on.
This gig from San Francisco, features a well-known lineup – Cedar Walton on piano, Billy Higgins on drums and David Williams on bass. Recorded just before Christmas 1982, it pays homage to the music of Thelonious Monk and sails through this shortened 44 minute set with laid-back, lightning precision.
Bobby Hutcherson’s recording career was huge – as a Blue Note artist from 1963-1977, he was credited as having the longest running recording career with that label, second only to Horace Silver.
So, needless to say, there is no shortage of Bobby Hutcherson albums to sink your teeth into. My hands-down favorite (and one that made an indelible impression on me as a teenager) is Eric Dolphys Out To Lunch, to which Hutcherson’s contribution took it to a whole new level. Just my opinion, but I would seek that one out first and take it from there.
But in the meantime, have a listen to Bobby Hutcherson and what he was up to in 1982.
Important music with the side benefit of being very cool.