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Bobby Hutcherson

Bobby Hutcherson is an NEA Jazz Master

NEA jazz master Bobby Hutcherson is the most accomplished vibraphonist of his generation. He is a master of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic improvisation on both the vibes and the marimba. He has performed or recorded with nearly every major living jazz musician.

Born in Los Angeles in 1941, and raised in Pasadena, Hutcherson took a few piano lessons at an early age. But, he says, “I only played piano for my own enjoyment.” Returned to the vibes after hearing the music of Milt Jackson. “One day I was walking down the street and I heard one of his records and that started it I have never tried to directly copy his style, but he's been a great influence on me…” He briefly studied the vibes with Dave Pike.

While still a teenager, Hutcherson worked around Los Angeles with such top musicians as Charles Lloyd and Curtis Amy. In 1960 he toured the country with a group led by AI Grey and BilIy Mitchell before settling in New York in 1961. He worked on and off with Jackie McLean for a year, quickly earning a reputation for his full, fresh sound on an instrument that was still a rarity in jazz. From the 1960's he played with some of the leading New York players, such as Hank Mobley, Archie Shepp, Eric Dolphy, Charles Tolliver, Herbie Hancock and Grachan Moncur, III. He began recording as a sideman during this period, appearing on records with Eric Dolphy, Dolly McLean, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Dexter Gotdon, Andrew Hill, McCoy Tyner and Grant Green.

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”The picture of cool, except for his arms and hands, which were blurs of movement that work magic.” —San Francisco Chronicle



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