This week, the great vibes player Bobby Hutcherson died from emphysema. My son and I were privileged to hear him play last year in the East Bay. He was obviously very sick and relying on an oxygen tank for breath, but was still the master musician who had once played with greats like Eric Dolphy and Freddy Hubbard.
Hutcherson was never as creative an improviser as the supreme Milt Jackson but he was a master of the instrument. ‘Little B’s Poem’, a melody he wrote about his infant son, is a fine example of his thoughtful playing. He was accompanied on this 1965 recording by James Spaulding (flute), Freddy Hubbard (tpt), Herbie Hancock (p), Ron Carter (b) and Joe Chambers (d). Just note that the ‘stars’ of Pop music from the 1960’s onwards are not fit to carry Hutcherson’s music case.