Monday, September 07, 2009

Hutcherson makes me drop everything

Within my growing collection of JAZZ albums, there are only a few that include a vibraphonist among the personnel, and if that vibraphonist isn't MILT JACKSON, it's likely BOBBY HUTCHERSON.
I can think of two reasons for this lack of vibraphonists:
1. It's a difficult instrument to play
2. It's a difficult instrument to play *with originality.*
Listening to "ONE STEP BEYOND" by JACKIE MCLEAN just now, I have come to the conclusion that the correct choice is probably No. 2.
I was sitting outside with the dog. She sniffed around the ground and I concentrated on PRO FOOTBALL MAGAZINES in advance of this week's Fantasy Football draft. I also listened to "One Step Beyond."
Whenever Hutcherson launched one of his vibe solos, I dropped the magazine, closed my eyes and listened as intently as I could.
Hutcherson made the vibes much more than simply banging a mallet on aluminum bars.
His improvisations were so inventive! They made me stop thinking about football statistics and start thinking about the music.
Hutcherson also stars on at least three other albums I own -- Grant Green's "Idle Moments," Eric Dolphy's "Out to Lunch" and the one currently pouring out of the speakers, "Let 'em Roll" by Big John Patton.
I sometimes think the vibes lend almost too much of a "cocktail jazz" sound to albums. Not when Hutcherson plays they don't.


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