Bobby Hutcherson Quartet

This performance is in tribute with great respect to the late Cedar Walton.

2010 NEA Jazz Master. NEA Jazz Masters Live is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest that celebrates the living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz.

Bobby Hutcherson's sound and innovative style on the vibraphone helped revitalize the instrument in the 1960s, adding an adventurous new voice to the free jazz and post-bop eras.

As a child, Hutcherson studied piano with his aunt, but his interest in becoming a professional musician was sparked after hearing vibraphonist Milt Jackson playing on a recording of the Thelonious Monk song "Bemsha Swing." Jackson's playing impressed him so much that he began working with his father (a brick mason) to save up money for a vibraphone. Studies under renowned vibraphonist Dave Pike followed, and soon Hutcherson played at local Los Angeles school dances in his friend Herbie Lewis' group.

In 1960, Hutcherson joined an ensemble co-led by Al Grey and Billy Mitchell. A year later, the group performed at New York's legendary Birdland club and the vibraphonist made his first live appearance opposite bassist Charles Mingus. Hutcherson soon relocated to New York City and signed with the Blue Note label. According to Hutcherson's own account, he made 45 records as a bandleader and appeared on more than 250 records as a sideman during his years with Blue Note -- working with jazz luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Jackie McLean, and McCoy Tyner, among others. His work on Eric Dolphy's recording Out to Lunch is considered one of his most masterful sideman performances, providing a vibrant texture to the piano-less quintet. In 1965, Blue Note released his astounding debut record as a bandleader, Dialogue. Hutcherson was accompanied on the album by some of the biggest names emerging in jazz at the time: drummer Joe Chambers, bassist Richard Davis, pianist Andrew Hill, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and saxophonist Sam Rivers.

In 1967, he returned to California and coled a quintet with saxophonist Harold Land for several years. Hutcherson eventually settled in Montara, a small coastal town south of San Francisco, where he continues to live.

In 1986, he appeared in the motion picture Round Midnight, alongside Dexter Gordon and Herbie Hancock.

In addition to his own recordings and tours, Hutcherson also appears on other artists' records, including Tyner's Manhattan Moods (1993) and Hammond B-3 organist Joey DeFrancesco's Organic Vibes (2006).

Hutcherson is a founding member of the SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star octet that debuted in 2004. In 2008, Hutcherson was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Sedona Jazz on the Rocks festival in Arizona.

Today, Bobby Hutcherson tours a quartet consisting of some of the top sidemen in jazz music, in addition to appearing as a special guest with renowned artists such as Herbie Hancock, Joey DeFrancesco, and McCoy Tyner.  In January 2010, Bobby Hutcherson released Wise One on Kind of Blue Records to wide critical acclaim. A new live recording featuring Bobby Hutcherson with the Joey DeFrancesco Trio, Somewhere In The Night, was released in 2012.

Hutcherson continues to perform at a masterful level on his instrument, playing with both his contemporaries and the new generation of jazz musicians.

“The picture of cool, except for his arms and hands, which were blurs of movement that work magic, playing the vibes in both senses of the word. Hutcherson is one of the world’s greatest marimba players, too.” -San Francisco Chronicle

“His last several albums have been tributes to endless improvisational possibilities…set firmly in the tradition…the music takes on other meanings and seems like an example of how to be elegant and thoughtful.” -New York Times

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