The thing I love about Bobby Hutchenson--well, let me begin counting, on all toes and fingers. But what comes to mind is his willingness to butterfly and bee sting around the universe music, doing whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants.
Now if your reading, you are probably hip to Bobby or will be very soon. But if you are just getting Bobbyed, let me give you a few scoops
Bobby came up during the 1960s and was the go to vibes player for Eric Dolphy, Jackie Mcclean, Andrew Hill--have I named the whole Blue Note roster yet? Did some Impulse work, too. Archie Shepp. Bobby got around
He did some free form of his own and if you want to start with this, check out Dialogue.
Then, as if to throw mallets at genre, he cuts an album calledSan Francisco with a sax player named Harold Land--could have been a 1969 Quincy Jones R&B soundtrack, and just when you think the free jazzer has become the blues stylist, he turns around, and makes the operatic Now! with Headless Hero Gene McDaniels.
I have a little confession to make. I have JUST finished downloading Stick Up and am burning it to CD right now. I am going to play it, but I have so much faith in Bobby that I am sure I am going to write a glowing review. So if you'll just slide down a bit, we'll see if I am right. See you in just a bit
Well, here we are: Stick Up only confirms my thesis about Bobby--a year after the 1965 avant Dialouge, Stick Up wields back to hard bop. Here, it is not as much about interaction and nuance as speed and good old fashioned chops. With Billy Higgins and McCoy Tyner--fresh from 'Trane and going back to basics, this hard bop flies wonderfully.
What strikes me here is Hutcherson's ability to work with and around a piano player. Often in jazz these two instruments are felt to be interchangeable: have one and the other gets in the way. But Tyner had developed, in free flights with Coltrane, an open style that actually reminds me of vibes playing. His keys actually have a chime, and the way he works here with Hutch is like trading two balls, same shape, different color. Amazing work'
And when masters of the Avant Gaurde return to pre-1960 forms, the form is not exactly the same. Stick up is, as I listen, essentially hard bop, but listen to the little timing clusters, small heads like twisted nails, and the increased freedom in the solo sections. The influence of free jazz, perhaps at peak power in 1966 with 'Trane still alive and with a brand new band, is clear if subtle/
Add this to a more traditional swing rhythm section, and the synergy is incredible.
But this perfect stew is a product of throwing out boundaries, and from my above ravings about Bobby, who would expect anything less.