(On Friday, December 16 at 8 pm at Pausa Art House, a special Jazz Legacy Series presentation by JazzBuffalo. Presenting Jazz Vibes: Remembering Bobby Hutcherson.)
This past August, the jazz world lost one of its most revered jazz vibraphonist, Bobby Hutcherson. At his passing at the age of 75, his influence spanning from the 1960’s to the new 21st century was felt deeply. Whether it was in the classic straight-ahead jazz of his early years with Blue Note or inventing rich modal jazz-fusion sounds, his presence helped to breathe life into jazz.
One of Hutcherson’s better-known album concepts was Components, released in 1965 on Blue Note. On this album, his signature song Little B’s Poem was introduced. A jazz waltz that is elegant and melodic. Resonating in your mind and heart for days. Creating an experience much like savoring good wine. Here is Little B’s Poem:
The title of this album is very apt when discussing Hutcherson. He was a master at blending yet disguising the overtness of sounds and arrangements associated with straight-ahead, fusion, soul, avant-garde, and free jazz elements. Creating interlocking components, if you will, on songs that in their totality were inventive. The Components album featured Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone); James Spaulding (flute); Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Herbie Hancock (piano); Ron Carter (bass); Joe Chambers (drums).
Clearly, though, despite Hutcherson’s flirtations with other sounds such as fusion, he remained core to straight-ahead bebop and hard bop. His closest associations came with such influential jazz legends as McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Chambers, and Harold Land. Tenor saxophonist Land was a significant collaborator after Hutcherson lost his cabaret card in New York City on a marijuana possession charge. Causing him to move to California, where he met Land.
He eventually settled in California, buying land along the coast in Montara. Which he wrote a song for that became another of Hutcherson’s signature songs. Here is the tune Montara:
Land and Hutcherson went on to form the Timeless All-star ensemble that featured Hutcherson and Land with various notables on trombone, bass, and drums. Here is one version performing Hindsight, where the straight-ahead bebop is in full force:
In his later years, Hutcherson returned more strongly to his foundational roots in straight-ahead bebop yet remained inventive in his compositions and arranging. Serving as a major influence on the formation of the famed San Francisco Jazz Collective.
On Friday, December 16th at 8 pm, JazzBuffalo, in association with Pausa Art House, will present Jazz Vibes: Remembering Bobby Hutcherson. In close resemblance to the Timeless All-Stars ensemble, the ensemble will feature Joanne Lorenzo on vibes, Lisa Hasselback on piano, Sabu Adeyola, Dave Schiavone on sax/flute, John Hasselback, Jr. on trombone, and Devin Kelly on drums. Tony Zambito will serve as moderator and appear on some tunes on percussion.
Joanne Lorenzo has been a long-time venerable vibes player in the region, dating back to her days of performing with the legendary Al Tinney. Sabu Adeyola brings a rich history of performing with vibes, having been part of, as well as, on recordings of the famous collaboration between pianist Ahmad Jamal and vibraphonist Gary Burton.
On Friday, December 16 at 8 pm at Pausa Art House, hear more about Bobby Hutcherson, experience his legacy, and enjoy the musical genius of one of the great jazz legends – Bobby Hutcherson.
Keep Jazz Alive!!