Saturday, April 17, 2010

Top Ten Avant Garde Recordings: Bobby Hutcherson

I did a post a few weeks back on a list of top ten avant garde recordings.  I had some difficulty compiling a list with ten recordings.  I wanted albums recorded in the late fifties and early sixties that stood out as core collection documents.  Here was the list I came up with:
Cecil Taylor/Jazz Advance/1956
Ornette Coleman/The Shape of Jazz to Come/1959
Jackie McLean/Let Freedom Ring/1962
Archie Shepp/The New York Contemporary Five/1963
Andrew Hill/Point of Departure/1964
Eric Dolphy/Out to Lunch/1964
Albert Ayler/Spiritual Unity/1964
John Coltrane/Ascension/1965
As my friend Ken Laster pointed out, McLean's album didn't really belong there.  I didn't want to put Coltrane's famous recording on, because I don't like it.  On the other hand, Taylor, Coleman, Shepp, Hill, Dolphy, and Ayler were easy.  

But I have at least one more disc that does easily fit: Bobby Hutcherson's Dialogue.  I confess that I didn't have any Hutcherson in my collection until today.  A few unexpected dollars came my way, and I bagged this disc along with Stick Up! from Amazon.  The price was right for both of them.  The first was about seven bucks for the MP3 download, and the second was under four dollars!  

Dialogue is basic document of experimental jazz in the mid-sixties.  Pianist Andrew Hill is responsible, I think, for all the compositions.  All of the sound and hypothesis of AG jazz is there.  Hutcherson's vibes and marimba are perfect for avant garde articulation.  Freddie Hubbard plays trumpet, and Sam Rivers, who would later record a number of great avant garde albums, plays sax.  Richard Davis plays bass, and Joe Chambers play drums.  Here is a sample:
Bobby Hutcherson/Ghetto Lights/Dialogue
I think this cut is worth its weight in fine whiskey.  Hubbard's solo, followed by Rivers and then Hutcherson, they make me want to holler.  All of the album is good.  Give it a listen and then give me a comment. 


  1. Shirley Clarke's 1986 documenetary about Coleman, "Ornette. Made in America" - watch here as video on demand stream

  2. shit I saw Bobby Hutcherson in a small jazz club in Detroit(Bakers keyboard lounge) up close and in person in 1979. I will never forget the intensity of the sets and from where they came from. From left feild! Now thats avant garde Bobby! Tom W. host of space is the place,an avant garde radio program