Bobby Hutcherson rose to prominence in the 1960’s, first playing with big band veterans
Al Grey and Billy Mitchell. Moving to New York,
he was part of the Birdland scene, which included
Jackie McLean, Eric Dolphy and Hank Mobley.
Hutcherson played on several now classic Blue Note
recordings, including Dolphy’s “Out to Lunch,” and
won numerous awards for his adventurous and bold
technique, which utilized the vibraphone in fresh and
unexpected ways. Even as he was recognized as one
of the premier instrumentalists of the hard bop and
avant garde style, he was just as adept as a blues
player, and as his career matured, he transitioned into
a more mainstream style. Hutcherson was a member
of the all-star ensemble, the SFJAZZ Collective, until
In order to get to know him better, we asked
Bobby to answer a few questions. Here’s
what he had to say:
What is the first recording you
remember hearing as a child?
What job would you
have if you weren’t a jazz musician?
What’s the strangest experience you’ve
ever had on the bandstand?
Working with Babs Gonzales, and this sports guy, I don’t
know exactly who he was,
came on stage and actually, I hate to say this, beat up Babs Gonzales
while I was
Yardbird—which means chicken.
If you could play with any other musician,
living or dead (with whom you have not
played), who would it be and why?
Ravel—because of his voicings.
favorite jazz venue?
Who is your greatest
How much do you practice each week?
What hobbies do you have?
Gardening and boating—I like to go to Lake Berryessa one
week per month from
May to October.
If you were to describe
your music as a color, what color would it be and why?
Transparent—because it suggests the reflection, not the