Bobby Hutcherson: Components (1965) Blue Note/ Liberty


Selection 1: Tranquility (Hutcherson)

Selection 2: Air (Chambers)


Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) James Spaulding (alto saxophone, flute) Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone, marimba) Herbie Hancock (piano, organ) Ron Carter (bass) Joe Chambers (drums) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 10, 1965

Instant Artist CV: Hutcherson won the “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” award in the 1964 Downbeat readers’ poll. His solo contributions include the magnificent GrantGreen/Joe Henderson/ Duke Pearson Idle Moments (1963)  – time suspended over fourteen minutes, music which cures all known ills, no prescription required. He rapidly became one of Blue Note’s most prolific recording artists, with ten titles as leader and many more as a performer.

However musically successful, Hutcherson was yet another victim of police soft-targeting musicians over drugs (an easy life, musicians tended not to shoot back) His cabaret card revoked (punishment by taking away his livelihood?) , in 1967 Hutcherson  took off for the West Coast – at roughly the same time as Blue Note  moved its’  base to LA under new owners Liberty. A long series  of releases followed for Blue Note/Liberty/UA well into the ’70s, teamed up with the very excellent West Coast tenor Harold Land.

Recording on and off for a variety of labels, including Columbia and Landmark until the present day, in 2014 Hutcherson returned to Blue Note to record with Joey de Francesco and David Sanborn  a bop-oriented album Enjoy the View. I cringed as I previewed a few tracks, awaiting Sanborn’s yakkity-sax  alto, but much to his credit, he managed to sound quite unlike his 80s jazz-fusion self, while Joey de Francesco manages not to sound like Jimmy Smith on the Hammond B3.

All in all, music life is a veritable Masquerade.


1965The successor to Hutcherson’s great Blue Note debut album Dialogue, two sides, Hutcherson compositions facing bop, the Chambers compositions facing the avant garde, very 1965. Hancock in sparkling form.

Whenever there is a stylistically dominant figure on an instrument – Jackson/ MJQ with vibes, Jimmy Smith with the Hammond B3,  it is beholden on other player/artist to seek out their own voice. Hutcherson pulls off the remarkable feat of playing the vibraphone without sounding like Milt Jackson, his command of the metallic cool shimmer of the vibe, ethereal layering, a shifting harmonic centre, he doesn’t so much swing, as breathe.

I’m groping for the word “modal” but I must say it quietly, in case the Technics-spinning  East End DJ Collective  appear suddenly from nowhere, stroking their beards. Not so fast, LondonDustCollector, yeah, modal, right, modal. Who’s the daddy?

Craft beers all round, then. Is there an app for modal?

Vinyl: BLP 4213 Liberty/NY Blue Note

NY labels, Van Gelder stamp, no ear. One of the forty-odd titles allocated catalogue numbers by Blue Note but not released until after Liberty took control in 1966. The NY labels look printed in anticipation, but pressed at All-Disc Roselle NJ. matrix drawn in a neat precise small hand, no other distinguishing marks.



Collector’s Corner

Grubby condition cover, writing on the cover, a few surface noises, but hey, life isn’t mint.

In London, it’s August, unseasonably  cold and wet,  and  the record stores  are in the grip of vintage vinyl famine. Nothing interesting on the shelves, and I notice more Blue Note 75 editions coming back into second hand circulation. No record fairs over August to help replenish stock., no attic storage finds, almost nothing, whilst online remains a little perky, but jousting with the increasing burden of overseas postage, tracking and customs. However, think positive, you may find yourself looking on this one day as the good old days!

Perhaps August is a good time to listen to what you have rather than searching for more. Just a thought.

12 thoughts on “Bobby Hutcherson: Components (1965) Blue Note/ Liberty

  1. I know you probably. Get asked this all the time, but what are some good vintage jazz record shops in Lonfon? I’d love to visit London for the first time and get some record shopping while I’m there, but I need to plan ahead and I haven’t any idea of where to start. I’d appreciate any help from you or any of my fellow readers. Cheers!


  2. Picked up a reissue of this the other day. A beautiful album. My favourite BH album is Total Eclipse. Fantastic stuff with one of my favourite cover portraits of the man himself.

    Loving your work.

    Instagram: #oneyearcovered


      • So I thought I knew them all…
        Just listened to this one on Youtube. Great stuff, Joe. And no trumpet to get in Harold’s way either! (Oh, so sorry Brownie up there – I really didn’t mean you!)


  3. A striking stylistic contrast of two album sides, with side A composional credit going to Hutcherson and side B to Chambers. Of the two samples, I prefer Tranquility – Hancock is at his best at this tempo. Bobby is my favorite vibes player, even his experimental work in the ’70’s (e.g., Head On with more extended pieces such as Hey Harold).

    My copy of Components is the stereo version – BST 84213. Van Gelder stamp, no ear, no DG, NY label. Freddie’s trumpet is right there is the room with you. I had always taken it to be an original – what do you think?


    • I was surprised Liberty issued the mono myself, as they seemed to issue only the stereo by choice. Perhaps Blue Note had already printed a stock of mono labels and covers with liner notes for a mono edition . Rather than have that inventory go to waste, Liberty ran with it as well as the stereo. I don’t think there is anything chronological between the two editions, both count as the “original” 1966 issue.

      By ’65 RVG had embraced “good stereo” and I’d be very happy with a copy of 84213, I would expect it to sound very good.


      • At that time there were still lots of AM stations that played jazz. The “Audition” Mono copies were sent out to AM radio Stations and to record reviewers. The “Audition” pressings are rare because they didn’t press them as stock copies for stores. That’s why you also mostly find them in collections of people who worked within the music industry.


    • Good point, p.cockle. I was playing my indifferent 80s reissue of this recently and thinking it was a disjointed affair – i never got round to checking the composer credits. Your explanation is of course the reason. Tranquility is a gorgeous thing and evidence that Freddie can lay cools well as hot when he puts his mind to it, but overall the LP isn’t up there with the great DIALOGUE (which of course LJC has covered elsewhere:

      But I hadn’t expected to hear Tranquility this work-day afternoon – and that has put a glide in my step…


    • My copy is stereo with the same deadwax markings as yours with New York labels and, according to Cohen, that makes it a first pressing. It’s a lovely record and was one of my first Hutchersons along with the even more impressive Stick Up! I got them as a brace over 20 years ago and I’ve been captivated by Hutcherson ever since.

      Reading through the comments here and Andy’s posting, it sounds as though I’m not alone in my appreciation of this master. Tonight it’s prompted me to listen to Total Eclipse and enjoy the equally terrific Harold Land alongside Hutcherson. How I wish I also had a copy of The Peacemaker. I’ve missed out on several copies over the last couple of years but one day it will be mine!

      I also have a copy of the recent Enjoy the View. It’s a double LP pressed on surprisingly heavy vinyl. Andy is right that Sanborn and de Franseco play nicely but I’ve yet to adjust to Hart’s drumming – he’s not in Chambers’ league.


  4. I’m a subscriber, never comment, but thought I’d let you know, I really enjoy what you’re doing. Informative and informed, well done.


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