Bobby Hutcherson is one the few vibraphonists to enjoy successful careers as both a jazz instrumentalist and a composer. Inheriting the musical legacy built by Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo, Hutcherson extends the virtuoso innovations developed by Milt Jackson. Credited, along with Gary Burton, with ushering what was essentially a novelty instrument into the modern era, Hutcherson in turn influenced the few musicians who chose to follow in his footsteps like Steve Nelson and Stefon Harris. A native of L.A., Hutcherson began his career by performing locally with Curtis Amy and Charles Lloyd as well as with a quintet co-led by Al Grey and Billy Mitchell, which brought him to New York City in 1961 at the age of 20. From there, he began performing with a visionary group of artists including Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, Charles Tolliver, Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy, Hank Mobley and Herbie Hancock. As a result of these associations, in 1963 Hutcherson began appearing as a sideman on several Blue Note albums that would become classics including McLean's One Step Beyond, Moncur's Evolution, Hill's Judgment and Dolphy's Out To Lunch. Based on his work on these recordings and on Dialogue, his 1965 Blue Note debut as a leader, which features Sam Rivers and Freddie Hubbard, one could categorize Hutcherson as a member of the avant garde. However, he spent equal time at home playing the blues, as he does with authority on Grant Green's Idle Moments and his own album The Kicker, the soulful, swinging 1963 session. Hutcherson appeared on several other Blue Note titles as a leader and sideman until 1977. The 1966 release Stick-Up!, which features tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, is notable for being the first recorded session Hutcherson made with pianist McCoy Tyner on piano, with whom he made a lasting association that continues today.
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