Ever since his professional debut as a teen-aged sideman for trumpeter Red Rodney, Greg Hutchinson has offered eloquent testimony that youth must have its say. Today he is still a young man, and still thick with the freshness of invention that was evident from the start. However, his youth is balanced with a maturity gained from valuable associations with the likes of Betty Carter and Joe Henderson.
Born June 16th, 1970 in Brooklyn, New York, Hutchinson grew up on a rich diet of '70s soul-which is undoubtedly the source of that homeboy fire he blends into his swing. He was musically inspired early by both of his parents. His percussionist father recruited a young Greg into a reggae band he led called the Triadics. From his mother, Greg inherited a vast record collection which had been in her family for at least two generations. Listening to artists that span jazz, soul and funk, Hutchinson developed his conception early. "Among my primary influences is 'Philly' Joe Jones," he admits, "because he's a streetwise cat who incorporated all the elements of his life into his music. He was very, very slick. Another inspiration is Charlie Parker," Hutchinson continues," I want to sing on the drums the way he sings on his horn."
Hutchinson's own analysis of the styles of personal idols was enhanced by private studies at the Manhatten School of Music under Justin Diccicio, as well as lessons with Marvin 'Smitty' Smith and Kenny Washington. "Hutch's playing proves he's one of very few young drummers who's learning the insides of the drums and the music," remarked Washington."Unlike many drummers of his generation,"Washington adds,"he listens, and is more interested in being a team player that just banging the drums."
While still in school, Hutchinson toured the U.S. and abroad with Rodney before pianist Stephen Scott recommended him to one of jazzdom's legendary ensemble leaders - Betty Carter. The young drummer rose to prominence during his two-year stint with Carter and, according to him, "cultivated a strong sense of coloring, dynamics and control. I could literally take a dinner break in between some of those beats Betty laid down," he quips..
After his work in the Betty Carter Trio, Hutchinson began a successful association with the Roy Hargrove Quintet, which continues to this day. The drummer has sparked Hargrove's band on two records and numerous concert performances. During his time with the firebrand young trumpeter, Hutchinson continues to perform and record with more experienced artists, most notably tenor great Joe Henderson.