Bobby Hutcherson: 1941-2016


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Bobby Hutcherson, whose vibraphone playing developed deep and complex harmonies, died on Monday at home in Montara, California. He was 75. When Hutcherson came to prominence in the early 1960s, he was in the forefront of young musicians already adept at bebop but seeking greater freedom. He expanded his instrument’s range of tonal colors, with particular attention to dramatic use of resonance, and he was open to ideas pioneered by free jazz saxophonist Ornate Coleman. Along with alto saxophonists Eric Dolphy and Joe Henderson, pianist McCoy Tyner, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and other musicians in their twenties, Hutchinson flourished rhythmic and harmonic adventuring beyond bop conventions. In the title tune from his 1965 album Components, we hear a headlong sense of excitement and a bit of the time-play in which Hutcherson loved to indulge. Soloists are Hubbard; alto saxophonist James Spaulding; Hutcherson; and pianist Herbie Hancock. Ron Carter, the bassist, does not solo on this track.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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