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The elder statesman of the vibraphone and the fastest gun in organ town don't seem like ideal partners on paper, but on record they gel quite well. Blue Note vibraphone icon Bobby Hutcherson and the fleet-fingered Joey DeFrancesco
initially teamed up for the organist's Organic Vibes (Concord, 2006), and their chemistry was so strong that they couldn't just let that be a one-off pairing.
Somewhere In The Night finds them sharing stage space while entertaining adoring fans at Jazz At Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in the fall of 2009. Hutcherson gets top billing this time, but the issue of ownership doesn't mean a heck of a lot here; Hutcherson, DeFrancesco, and the organist's trio matesguitarist Peter Bernstein
The album-opening "Teddy" is powered by Landham's propulsive cymbal work, but DeFrancesco's angular soloing is the attention-grabber. His notes-a-plenty approach, which can be overwhelming at other times, serves him well here. Things continue swimmingly as Hutcherson touches on his well-known "Little B's Poem" and nods to vibraphone forefather Milt Jackson
's "Wise One," which starts off in an open, spiritual realm before settling into a straight groove.
The title track finds the soloists making greater use of space in their individual statements, while "My Foolish Heart" wins the award for most affecting performance. Hutcherson's introductory cadenza places his vibes deep in a dream, his soloing is melodicism distilled to its essence, and his musical thoughts twinkle like the stars in the sky as things wrap up; Landham and DeFrancesco deserve bonus points for their sensitive background work on this one. A hard-swinging "S'Wonderful" almost seems superfluous after such an emotional rendering, but it ends things in upbeat fashion.
Before Organic Vibes, Hutcherson hadn't really connected with the organ since his mid-sixties meetings with Larry Young