330

Bobby Hutcherson: Oblique

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Bobby Hutcherson: Oblique A welcome and worthwhile addition to Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder remaster series, Oblique is one of only two quartet albums Bobby Hutcherson recorded for the label, and it's the most enduring by a long mile. Two tracks in particular, "Oblique" and "Bi-Sectional," both by genius drummer/composer Joe Chambers, are bona fide, five star hall-of-fame greats.

Hutcherson's first quartet album was Happenings, recorded in '66. Oblique followed in '67. The lineup on both occasions was the same except for the bassist: Bob Cranshaw was replaced on the second album by Albert Stinson.

What gives Oblique the edge over its predecessor is its well-rounded compositional base. While all but one track on the first album were written by Hutcherson, here his three attractive but relatively conventional tunes sit alongside altogether more remarkable ones by Herbie Hancock ("Theme From Blow-Up") and Chambers. The result is a satisfying and slow-burning progression from in-the-groove hard bop romps through Chambers' daring symphonies-in-miniature, sonic and rhythmic tone poems.

Hutcherson's samba-flavoured ballad "'Til Then" and Baroque-informed "My Joe" each include on-fire vibes and piano solos—Hutcherson and Hancock both improvise at the top of their passionate trees throughout the album—and "My Joe" is further distinguished by a brief but colossal solo from Stinson (tragically dead of an overdose two years later).

Things get even better with Hancock's iconic "Theme From Blow-Up," here given the only straight-ahead jazz reading the pianist ever recorded, and start seriously hitting greatness with Chambers' closing "Oblique" and "Bi-Sectional." Hutcherson and Chambers contribute soaring, sweeping solos of towering architectural form to "Oblique," while "Bi-Sectional" is an equally daring and well executed exercise in collective improvisation. At 5:04 it's one of the shortest tracks on the album, but it's the one which goes the furthest and arguably says the most.

Probably because ill-health forced producer Alfred Lion to retire from Blue Note later in '67, Oblique had to wait until '80 to see its first release, and it remains less widely celebrated than its enjoyable, but by no means as exciting predecessor. This beautifully remastered edition should help enhance its reputation.


Track Listing: 'Til Then; My Joy; Theme From Blow-Up; Subtle Neptune; Oblique; Bi-Sectional.

Personnel: Bobby Hutcherson: vibes; Herbie Hancock: piano; Albert Stinson: bass; Joe Chambers: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "That's What She Said..." CD/LP/Track Review That's What She Said...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Sky Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Sky Begins
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "You'll Never Know" CD/LP/Track Review You'll Never Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Beauty Within" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty Within
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Blow" CD/LP/Track Review Blow
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Resolution" CD/LP/Track Review Resolution
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!