Bobby Hutcherson 1941 – 2016

By , August 16, 2016 12:36 pm


Bobby Hutcherson



Listen/Download – Bobby Hutcherson feat. Harold Land – Ummh MP3

Listen/Download – Bobby Hutcherson feat. Harold Land – Goin’ Down South MP3

Greetings all.

I woke up this morning to the extremely sad news that one of my musical heroes, the mighty vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson had passed away.

I have been a jazz fan my entire life, but there was a period in the late 80s and early 90s, in the years right after I stopped playing in bands and decided to spend my time intently listening, that I bought, studied and listened to almost nothing but jazz.

Though I was digging everything from Bix Beiderbecke to Archie Shepp, the broadest area of my focus was applied to the post-bop/modal/out years from the late 50s to the early 70s, and in large part to the sounds of the Blue Note label.

At the time, Blue Note was engaged in an aggressive CD reissue campaign, part of which was the Connoisseur Series, in which they pressed up some of the more obscure, challenging and interesting titles from their back catalog in limited quantities. I picked up the discs in that series religiously, as well as anything else I could find that I dug, sometimes to the tune of three or four albums a week.

It was during that time that I discovered and fell in love with the music of Bobby Hutcherson.

If you come here on the reg, or dig the podcast, you know that I am a certified vibes nut, and Hutcherson was a master of the instrument (as well as the xylophone and marimba) who played in a wide variety of settings as a leader and a sideman, and in styles ranging from bebop, to modal, to inside/outside to free jazz with just about every great musician associated with Blue Note.

Head on over to Discogs and take a look as his own catalog, as well as his work as a sideman.

I was lucky enough to see him play (and meet him briefly) back in the 90s when he played in New York City.

The tracks I bring you today are from the funkiest date he did, 1971’s ‘San Francisco’, recorded with the giant of the tenor saxophone, Harold Land.

Land, who had been working steadily since the late 40s, and had been a crucial member of the Clifford Brown/Max Roach band, formed a partnership with Hutcherson in the late 60s, with the pair recording a number of albums (trading the leader’s position) over the next decade for a variety of labels.

‘San Francisco’ was a west coast date, featuring Joe Sample (of the Crusaders) on electric and acoustic piano (he also wrote ‘Goin’ Down South’),  Hutcherson and Land stretching out on some more groove-oriented material, and great production by Duke Pearson.

You’ve heard ‘Ummh’ and ‘Goin’ Down South’ in mixes here at Funky16Corners, but neither has been featured on the blog.

Both tunes have been sampled, ‘Goin’ Down South’ by Us3 and ‘Ummh’ by Ice Cube.

I’m also re-posting below, an all-vibes mix I put together in 2010 called ‘Positive Vibrations’, which features Hutcherson, as well as a number of his contemporaries from the 60s and 70s laying down funky and soulful vibes.


Funky16Corners Radio v.79 – Positive Vibrations!


Lionel Hampton – Greasy Greens (Glad Hamp)
Jack Wilson feat Roy Ayers – Sidewinder (Vault)
Freddie McCoy – Peas and Rice (Prestige)
Jack Brokensha and the Baroqe-a-delics – Boogaloo (Contrast)
Bobby Hutcherson – Goin’ Down South (Blue Note)
Cal Tjader – Ode to Billie Joe (Skye)
Ulysses Crockett – Sunshine Superman (Transverse)
Gary Burton – Leroy the Magician (Atlantic)
Milt Jackson – People Make the World Go Round (CTI)
Bobby Christian – Mooganga (Ovation)
Johnny Lytle – Above the Clouds (SS)
Lionel Hampton- Them Changes (Brunswick)
Freddie McCoy – Beans’n’Greens (Prestige)
Soulful Strings feat Billy Wooten – One Night Affair (Cadet)
Cal Tjader – Soul Sauce (Verve)



If you get the chance, look for any of Hutcherson’s Blue Note albums, but especially ‘Patterns’, which was recorded in 1968 but shelved (inexplicably) until the 80s. It is by far my favorite Hutcherson album, and featured the underrated/underrecorded reedman James Spaulding as well.

Hutcherson was a giant, and he will be missed.

See you all on Friday.

Keep the faith




PS Head over to Iron Leg too.

3 Responses to “Bobby Hutcherson 1941 – 2016”

  1. The Swede says:

    Sad news. Looking forward to checking out the mix.

  2. AMD says:

    Oooh, that is fine stuff. I’ll add Heavy Vibes by the Montana Sextet to that.

  3. Larry says:

    An excellent suggestion! I only got my copy a few years after I did the mix.

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