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.
In 1964, at the age of 23, Hutcherson won the Downbeat critic's poll as "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" on the vibes. The following year he played with Gil Fuller's big band at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and cut his first recording as a leader, Dialogue, on the Blue Note label. He continued to record with Blue Note for the next twelve years. During this time Bobby released two masterful recordings for Blue Note Records “Stick Up!” and “Dialogue” that would define the vibraphone as a jazz instrument for decades to come.
From 1967 to 1971 he led a quintet with Harold Land. Among those who belonged to the group as sidemen were the pianists Chick Corea, Stanley Cowell, and Joe Sample; the double bass players Reggie Johnson and Albert Stinson; and the drummers Donald Bailey and Billy Higgins.
Hutcherson moved to San Francisco in 1971 and won the International Jazz Critic's Poll as the "World's Best Vibest." During the '70s and '80s he performed and recorded regularly as a guest or co-leader, appearing on records with McCoy Tyner, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. He signed with Columbia in 1978 & and recorded the highly acclaimed “Highway One Conception: The Gift of Love” and “Un Poco Loco”. In 1979 he performed as part of an all-star jazz group at the historic Havana Jam Music Festival in Cuba. From 1981 he toured internationally and made recordings as a member of the Timeless All-Stars, with Harold Land, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Buster Williams and Billy Higgins.