Born in Los angels, on January 27, 1941. Bobby Hutcherson is possibly the grooviest vibraphonist of the free jazz generation. As a child he studied piano with his aunt, but soon realized he didn’t enjoy the conventionalism of the training. Nonetheless he fiddled with it, after all, jazz was in his blood. Hutcherson decided to take up the vibraphone after listening to a Milt Jackson record. He began to study informally with vibist Dave Pike but most of what he knows is self-taught.
He began playing at local dances with his friend Herbie Lewis. After high school he played with many local jazz musicians such as, Les McCann, and Charles Lloyd. After moving to San Francisco, he joined an ensemble co led by Al Grey and Billy Mitchell; the band recorded several albums in both of the leaders names. He signed to the Blue Note label with Jackie Mclean, Andrew Hill and others around 1963. Hutcherson blossomed in the 60’s playing “cerebral” complicated modern jazz that was often compared to avant-garde forms of music.
Hutcherson helped revolutionize his instrument by bending the boundaries and redefining what could be done with it. He progressively crossed over to more mainstream, bop style, which helped him further master the vibes. One of Bobby Hutcherson’s best albums is definitely Stick up! It resides in the middle ground between hard bop and the avant-garde. The album bequeaths a set of coordinated yet progressive modal pieces of amazing melodies. It is perhaps the most cutting edge swinging album he has ever cut at the Blue Note label. Bobby Hutcherson is one of the finest Jazz masters of our time! WEAA takes this time to celebrate his life and music contributions; turning 72 years of age this month, he is our Jazz Master of the Month. Tune in all month long to hear various tunes written and played by Bobby Hutchenson.