Bobby Hutcherson

Bobby Hutcherson

Bobby Hutcherson
Background information
Born (1941-01-27) January 27, 1941
Origin Los Angeles, United States
Genres Progressive jazz
Hard bop
Mainstream jazz
Free jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Vibraphone, marimba
Years active 1961–present

Bobby Hutcherson (born January 27, 1941) in Los Angeles is a jazz vibraphone and marimba player. "Little B's Poem" (from the album Components) is one of his best-known compositions.[1][2][3][4] Hutcherson has influenced younger vibraphonists including Steve Nelson, Joe Locke and Stefon Harris.[3][5][6][7]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life and career 1.1
    • Blue Note records 1.2
    • Return to West Coast 1.3
    • Recent developments 1.4
  • Acting career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Style and critical reception 4
  • Discography 5
    • As Leader 5.1
    • As sideman 5.2
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early life and career

Bobby Hutcherson was born to Eli, a master mason, and Esther, a hairdresser. Hutcherson was exposed to jazz by his brother Teddy, who listened to Art Blakey records in the family home with his friend Dexter Gordon. His older sister Peggy was a singer in Gerald Wilson's orchestra and personally introduced Hutcherson to Eric Dolphy (her boyfriend at the time) and Billy Mitchell. Hutcherson was inspired to take up the vibraphone when he heard Milt Jackson play "Bemsha Swing" on the Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants LP at the age of 12. Still in his teens, Hutcherson began his professional career in the late fifties working with Curtis Amy and Carmell Jones, as well as with Dolphy and Charles Lloyd at Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip.[3][8][9] He made his recording debut on August 3, 1960, cutting two songs for a 7-inch single with the Les McCann trio for Pacific Jazz (released 1961), followed by the LP Groovin' Blue with the Curtis Amy-Frank Butler sextet on December 10 (also released by Pacific Jazz in 1961). In January 1962, Hutcherson joined the Billy Mitchell-Al Grey group for dates at The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco and Birdland in New York City (opposite Art Blakey). After touring with the Mitchell-Grey group for a year, Hutcherson settled in New York City (on 165th street in The Bronx) where he worked part-time as a taxi driver, before fully entering the jazz scene via his childhood friend, bassist Herbie Lewis.[8][9][10]

Blue Note records

Lewis was working with

External links

  1. ^ a b c Mortensen, Scott (2006). "Bobby Hutcherson Biographical Sketch". MusicWeb International. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Artist Biography by Steve Huey
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hamlin, Jesse. "Bobby Hutcherson Passionate about Music, Life." SFGate. Hearst Communications, Inc., January 15, 2012. Web. March 17, 2014.
  4. ^ Huey, Steve. "Components – Bobby Hutcherson." AllMusic. Web. March 17, 2014.
  5. ^ Musto, Russ. "Steve Nelson: Vibing." All About Jazz. August 1, 2006. Web. May 23, 2014.
  6. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Joe Locke | Biography." AllMusic. Web. February 27, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Ross, David. "Bobby Hutcherson: Master of the Vibes." KALW. March 27, 2012. Web. March 17, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Ouellette, Dan. "California Dreaming." DownBeat 80.4 (2013): 30–33. Print.
  9. ^ a b c d e Cuscuna, Michael. Liner notes. Hutcherson, Bobby. Patterns. Blue Note, 1980. LP.
  10. ^ "Pacific Jazz Records Discography: 1959–1960." Jazz Discography Project. Ed. Nobuaki Togashi, Kohji Matsubayashi, and Masayuki Hatta. Web. February 16, 2014
  11. ^ a b Tatum, Doug. "'99–2000: Off and Running." Jazz Ambassadors Magazine. Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors, Inc., Oct. 1999. Web. February 16, 2014.
  12. ^ "Hutcherson Being Honored With Jazz Master Fellowship Award in 2010". Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  13. ^ Blue Note Records. BOBBY HUTCHERSON RETURNS TO BLUE NOTE WITH ALL-STAR COLLECTIVE FOR "ENJOY THE VIEW" ON 6/24. N.p., March 17, 2014. Web. March 17, 2014.
  14. ^ "Bobby Hutcherson." IMDb. Web. February 27, 2014.
  15. ^ Seidel, Richard. Liner notes. Hutcherson, Bobby. Medina. Blue Note, 1980. LP.


As sideman

With Curtis Amy & Frank Butler

With The Aquarians

  • Jungle Grass (Uni, 1969)

With Kenny Barron

  • Other Places (Verve, 1993)

With Bayete

  • Worlds Around the Sun (Prestige, 1972)

With Dave Burns

  • Warming Up (Vanguard, 1962)

With Donald Byrd

With George Cables

  • Cables' Vision (Contemporary, 1979)

With Stanley Cowell

With Joey DeFrancesco

  • Organic Vibes (Concord, 2006)

With Smith Dobson

  • Sasha Bossa (Quartet, 1988)

With Eric Dolphy

With Bruce Forman

  • Full Circle (Concord, 1984)
  • There are Times (Concord, 1987)

With Chico Freeman

With Kenny Garrett

  • Happy People (Warner Bros., 2001)
  • Beyond the Wall (Nonesuch, 2006)

With Luis Gasca

  • Collage (Fantasy, 1975)

With Dexter Gordon

With Grant Green

With Al Grey

  • Snap Your Fingers (Argo, 1962)
  • Having a Ball (Argo, 1963)
  • Night Song (Argo, 1962)

With Herbie Hancock

With John Handy

  • New View (Columbia, 1967)

With Roy Haynes

  • Thank You Thank You (Galaxy, 1977)

With Eddie Henderson

With Joe Henderson

With John Hicks

With Andrew Hill

With Stix Hooper

  • The World Within (MCA, 1979)

With Freddie Hubbard

With Ron Jefferson

  • Love Lifted Me (Pacific Jazz, 1962)

With Barney Kessel

With Osamu Kitajima

  • Masterless Samurai (Headfirst, 1979)

With Harold Land

With Prince Lasha & Sonny Simmons

With John Lewis

  • Slavic Smile (Baystate, 1982)

With Abbey Lincoln

  • Wholly Earth (Verve, 1998)

With Eddie Marshall

  • Dance of the Sun (Timeless, 1977)

With Les McCann

  • Oat Meal b/w One More Ham Hock Please (Pacific Jazz, 1961) 7" single

With Jackie McLean

With Billy Mitchell

  • This Is Billy Mitchell (Smash, 1962)

With Grachan Moncur III

With Frank Morgan

  • Reflections (Contemporary, 1988)

With Lee Morgan

With Grassella Oliphant

  • The Grass Roots (Atlantic, 1965)

With John Patton

With Duke Pearson

With Lou Rawls

  • At Last (Blue Note, 1989)

With Dianne Reeves

  • I Remember (Blue Note, 1988)

With Sonny Rollins

With Ted Rosenthal

  • Calling You (CTI, 1992)

With Joe Sample

  • Roles (MCA, 1987)

With Pharoah Sanders

With SFJAZZ Collective

  • Live 2004 Inaugural Concert Tour (SFJazz, 2004)
  • Live 2005 2nd Annual Concert Tour (SFJazz, 2005)
  • SFJAZZ Collective (Nonesuch, 2005) recorded 2004
  • SFJAZZ Collective 2 (Nonesuch, 2006) recorded 2005
  • Live 2006 3rd Annual Concert Tour (SFJazz, 2006)
  • Live 2007 4th Annual Concert Tour (SFJazz, 2007)

With Woody Shaw

With Archie Shepp

With Sonny Stitt

  • Just in Case You Forgot How Bad He Really Was (32 Jazz, 1981)

With Timeless All Stars

  • It's Timeless (Timeless, 1982) recorded live at Keystone Korner
  • Timeless Heart (Timeless, 1983)
  • Essence (Delos, 1986)
  • Time for the Timeless All Stars (Early Bird, 1991)

With McCoy Tyner

With Harold Vick

With Larry Vuckovich

  • Blue Balkan (Inner City, 1980)

With Cedar Walton

With Paula West

  • Come What May (Hi Horse, 2001)

With Tony Williams

  • Life Time (Blue Note, 1964)
  • Foreign Intrigue (Capitol, 1985)

With Gerald Wilson

  • Everywhere (Pacific Jazz, 1968)
  • California Soul (World Pacific, 1968)
  • Eternal Equinox (World Pacific, 1969)

As Leader

Blue Note

Columbia Records

Landmark Records

  • 1984 Good Bait
  • 1985 Color Schemes
  • 1985 It Ain't Easy
  • 1987 In the Vanguard
  • 1988 Cruisin' The Bird
  • 1989 Ambos Mundos
  • 1991 Mirage
  • 1992 Landmark


  • 1969 Blow Up (Jazz Music Yesterday)
  • 1982 Solo / Quartet (Contemporary)
  • 1982 Farewell Keystone (Theresa Records)
  • 1983 Four Seasons (Timeless)
  • 1993 Acoustic Masters II (Atlantic)
  • 1999 Skyline (Verve)
  • 1999 Little B's Poem (E.J.'s Records) recorded live 1980
  • 2007 For Sentimental Reasons (Kind of Blue)
  • 2009 Wise One (Kind of Blue)
  • 2012 Somewhere in the Night (Kind of Blue)
Hutcherson performing at the Berkeley Jazz Festival in 1982


In an April 2013 profile for Down Beat magazine, Dan Ouellette wrote that "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." Ouellette quoted Joey DeFrancesco as saying "Bobby is the greatest vibes player of all time... Milt Jackson was the guy, but Bobby took it to the next level. It's like Milt was Charlie Parker, and Bobby was John Coltrane."[8]

Interviewed by Jesse Hamlin for a piece on Hutcherson in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2012, collaborator Joshua Redman said that "We talk a lot about how music expresses universal values, experiences and feelings. But you don't often witness that so clearly and so profoundly as you do with Bobby. His music expresses the joy of living. He connects to the source of what music is about."[3]

In his liner notes to the 1980 release of Medina, record producer Richard Seidel (Verve, Sony Masterworks) wrote that "of all the vibists to appear on the scene contemporaneous with Hutcherson, none have been able to combine the rhythmic dexterity, emotive attack and versatile musical interests that Bobby possesses." Seidel concurred that Hutcherson was "part of the vanguard of the new jazz developments in the Sixties. He contributed mightily to several of the key sessions that document these developments."[15]

AllMusic contributor Steve Huey stated that Hutcherson's "free-ringing, open chords and harmonically advanced solos were an important part of Dolphy's 1964 masterwork Out to Lunch!," and called Dialogue a "classic of modernist post-bop," declaring Hutcherson "one of jazz's greatest vibraphonists." Huey went on to say: "along with Gary Burton, the other seminal vibraphone talent of the '60s, Hutcherson helped modernize his instrument by redefining what could be done with it – sonically, technically, melodically, and emotionally. In the process, he became one of the defining (if underappreciated) voices in the so-called "new thing" portion of Blue Note's glorious '60s roster."[2]

"I love 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."
— Sonny Rollins[3]
"Bobby's thorough mastery of harmony and chords combined with his virtuosity and exploratory intuition enabled him to fulfill the function that is traditionally allocated to the piano and also remain a voice in the front line. He did this to perfection in the bands of Dolphy, McLean, and Archie Shepp. His approach to the vibes was all encompassing; it was pianistic in the sense of melody and harmony and percussive in rhythmic attack and placement. He brought a fire and a passion back into the instrument that had been lost since the prime of Lionel Hampton. He was firmly rooted in the be bop tradition, but constantly experimenting and expanding upon that tradition."
— Michael Cuscuna[9]

Style and critical reception

Hutcherson has a son, Barry, from his first marriage to Beth Buford. Hutcherson wrote the waltz "Little B's Poem" for Barry in 1962.[3] Due to the success of "Ummh" from the album San Francisco, one of Hutcherson's few entries in the jazz fusion style, he was able to buy an acre of land in Montara, California in 1972, where he built a house that he still lives in.[2][8] That same year he was married to Rosemary Zuniga, a ticket taker at the Both/And club in San Francisco.[7] Bobby and Rosemary went on to have a son named Teddy, who is now a production manager for SFJAZZ. Hutcherson attended an African Methodist Episcopal Church as a youth and converted to Catholicism later in life.[3]

Personal life

Hutcherson's brief acting career included an appearance as the bandleader in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), and as Ace in Round Midnight (1986).[14]

Acting career

In 2004, Hutcherson became an inaugural member of the SFJAZZ Collective, featuring Joshua Redman, Miguel Zenón, Nicholas Payton, Renee Rosnes, and Eric Harland, among others. He toured with them for four years, and made an appearance at the SFJAZZ Center's grand opening in 2013.[8] His 2007 quartet included Renee Rosnes on piano, Dwayne Burno on bass and Al Foster on drums. His 2008 quartet included Joe Gilman on piano, Glenn Richman on bass and Eddie Marshall on drums. In 2010 he received the lifetime Jazz Master Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts and performed at Birdland in a quintet featuring Gilman, Burno, Marshall, and Peter Bernstein. 2014 saw Hutcherson return to Blue Note Records with Enjoy the View, recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood with Joey DeFrancesco, David Sanborn, and Billy Hart. The quartet performed four sold-out shows at the SFJAZZ Center in February, prior to the album's release.[12][13]

Recent developments

Hutcherson lost his cabaret card and taxi driver's license in 1967 after he and Joe Chambers were arrested on a drug violation in Central Park, so he moved back to California, but continued to record for Blue Note.[8] This return to the West Coast resulted in an important partnership with Harold Land, with whom Hutcherson recorded seven albums for Blue Note, featuring a rotating lineup of pianists such as Chick Corea, Stanley Cowell, and Joe Sample, and usually Chambers on drums. The Hutcherson-Land group broke up in 1971, and that same year Hutcherson won the title of "World's Best Vibist" in the International Jazz Critics Poll.[2][11] After releasing Knucklebean in 1977, Hutcherson went on to record three albums for Columbia Records in the late 1970s. Land and Hutcherson reunited in the early 1980s for several recordings as the "Timeless All Stars," a sextet featuring Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Buster Williams, and Billy Higgins which recorded four albums for the Dutch label Timeless Records.[1] After switching between several labels in the early 1980s for his solo material, Hutcherson recorded eight albums for Landmark Records from the 1980s into the early 1990s, and continued to work steadily as a sideman during this time. His recorded output slowed somewhat during the past few decades, although he did release albums for Atlantic and Verve in the 1990s, three for the Swiss-based label Kind of Blue in the 21st century, and continued to tour.

Return to West Coast

[1]'s.Horace Silver Spanning the years 1963 to 1977, Hutcherson had one of the longest recording careers with Blue Note, second only to [9][2] or any of Chambers' compositions.Joe Chambers was also the only album out of ten Hutcherson recorded as leader for Blue Note between 1965 and 1969 which did not feature drummer Stick-Up! throughout their lives. McCoy Tyner, was notable, being the first of many recorded sessions Hutcherson made with Billy Higgins, featuring Joe Henderson, Herbie Lewis, and Stick-Up! The 1966 record [11], to the public in 1965.Dialogue readers' poll, and Blue Note released Hutcherson's official entry as leader, Down Beat He won the "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition" award in the 1964 [2] sound.hard bop with Grant Green. Many of his later recordings returned to this more mainstream, Idle Moments, as did blues and the hard bop (recorded in 1963 but not released until 1999), demonstrated his background in The Kicker recordings made during this period, Hutcherson's first session for Blue Note as leader, free jazz, and avant-garde, post-bop In spite of the numerous [9]