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.
The 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.
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.