Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bobby Hutcherson on Blue Note pt. 2

Bobby Hutcherson recorded three albums as leader with Herbie Hancock on piano: Components (1965), Happenings (66), and Oblique (67).  As Hutcherson's Dialogue was, I think, deeply colored by the presence of Andrew Hill, so Hancock's presence colors the 66 and 67.  This is so in spite of the fact that Hutcherson composed all but one of the numbers on Happenings (Hancock's 'Maiden Voyage') and three of the six numbers of on Oblique.  The latter also includes a single Hancock composition.  I think that this is a strength of Hutcherson's leadership rather than a weakness and is quite intentional.  Hutcherson's composition 'Subtle Neptune' certainly invokes the oceanic theme that marked Hancock's great Blue Note recordings.  Hutcherson chose to do something very clever: record albums that fit rather neatly with the latter.  
  1. Components.  Freddie Hubbard (tp); James Spaulding (as, fl); Bobby Hutcherson (vib, mar); Herbie Hancock (p, org); Ron Carter (b); Joe Chambers (d).  Four of the cuts are Hutcherson composition, and they are all lyrical, accessible, and delicious.  'Tranquility' is pensive and haunting.  'Little B's Poem' is a classic.  The rest of the compositions are by Chambers, and lean a little more toward the avant garde.  
  2. Happenings.  Bobby Hutcherson (vib, mar, d); Herbie Hancock (p); Bob Cranshaw (b); Joe Chambers (d, mar),  Great album art!  All the compositions are good.  I especially like 'Head Start' with Hutcherson's superb solos going on just inches above Hancock's piano. This is very energetic and compelling hard bop.
  3. Oblique.  Bobby Hutcherson (vib, d); Herbie Hancock (p); Albert Stinson (b); Joe Chambers (d, gong, timp).  What Hutcherson does with Hancock's 'Theme from "Blow Up"' is just marvelous, and you don't get better vibes than are on display in the title cut.  
  4. Stick Up! (66) Joe Henderson (ts); Bobby Hutcherson (vib); McCoy Tyner (p); Herbie Lewis (b); Billy Higgins (d).  This is a nice contrast with the above recordings.  It doesn't sound like a Hancock or a Henderson album, though Joe does not go unnoticed.  Hutcherson's poetry is a conspicuous feature of all these albums, but the best expression of it is in the aptly titled 'Verse'.  Again, Hutcherson composes his solo just above the exquisite Tyner on piano and Lewis on base, followed Henderson doing the same.  I can't imagine listening to this and not being happy.  
I may do another post on Hutcherson, or maybe not.   If you have the four recordings described in these last two posts, you have a fine record of mid-sixties jazz in all of its glory. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bobby Hutcherson on Blue Note pt. 1

I have had very little time for this blog over the last few months and I confess that I have not really found a satisfying way to combine it with my Live365 site.  This was a lot more fun when I was posting links directly to sample cuts, but that was more risk that I was willing to continue taking. 

The original purpose of the blog was to share my love of jazz collecting, so I am going to try to return to that purpose.  Who knows?  Perhaps I can draw some audience back.  

I have been rounding out my collection of vibe man Bobby Hutcherson recordings.  In the mid '60's, Hutcherson did a series of recordings for Blue Note that ought to be in anyone's jazz library.  Here is a list of these recordings with some notes.  
  1. The Kicker (63)  Joe Henderson (ts); Duke Pearson (p); Grant Green (g); Bob Cranshaw (b); Al Harewood (d).  This might as well have been marketed as a Henderson album.  Maybe then Blue Note wouldn't have kept it in the vaults for more than thirty years (1999)!  It is a rock solid hard bop date, with fine displays by Henderson and Hutcherson and Pearson.  Kicker* may be heard on my Live365 site.  
  2. Dialogue (65) Freddie Hubbard (t); Sam Rivers (ss, ts, f); Andrew Hill (p); Richard Davis (b); Joe Chambers (d).  Likewise, this might have been marketed as an Andrew Hill recording, as the pianist composed three of the cuts and it has a very topography.  This is Hutcherson's most interesting and inventive recording.  It invites obvious comparison with two very great recordings.  Hill's Andrew!!! has the same Hill-Davis-Chambers rhythm section.  Hutcherson, Hubbard, and Davis appeared on Eric Dolphy's earth shaking recording, Out To Lunch.  Hill's 'Les Noirs Marchant' could easily have fit on that album.
Don't misinterpret my remarks about marketing.  These are both Hutcherson recordings.  If his subsequent Blue Note recordings were less adventurous than Dialogue, they are nonetheless squarely on the path of the new thing.   In pt. 2, I'll cover Happenings, Stick Up, and Oblique

ps.  I have relied heavily on A Bobby Hutcherson Web Site.  What a resource!  Would that every jazz artist had this kind of attention paid to him or her.