For the next 24 hours, WKCR will be honoring the life and accomplishments of the great vibraphone and marimba player Bobby Hutcherson, who passed away Monday, August 15 at the age of 75. All regular programming will be pre-empted beginning Tuesday at 12:00 PM and lasting until 3:00 PM on Wednesday.
Born on January 27, 1941 in Los Angeles, Hutcherson became one of jazz's greatest vibraphonists and a great composer. Hutcherson's career took flight in the 1960's and he would go on to release more than 40 albums and appear on many more, including classics such as Eric Dolphy's "Out to Lunch" and Joe Henderson's "Mode for Joe." Hutcherson was born to his father Eli, a brick mason, and his mother Esther, a hairdresser. He was inspired to take up the vibraphone when he heard Milt Jackson play "Bemsha Swing" on Davis's "Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants" album when he was 12 years old. He began his professional career when he was still in his teens, performing with Curtis Amy and Carmell Jones. He made his recording debut on August 3, 1960 on a 7-inch single with the Les McCann trio for Pacific Jazz. His career would be defined by his years on Blue Note, from 1963 to 1977. He would perform with artists ranging from jazz experimentalists sich as Andrew Hill to hard-bop saxophonist Dexter Gordon. He would also come to be known for his trademark compositions off of his solo albums, such as "Little B's Poem" from Compositions and "Ummh" from 1971's San Francisco, both released on Blue Note. Known for his clear and colorful sound, Hutcherson became one of the most, if not the most-established instrumentalist in the world of jazz vibraphonists. Stefon Harris referred to him as "by far the most harmonically advanced person to ever play the vibraphone." Hear the music of Bobby Hutcherson all day at WKCR 89.9FM and wkcr.org.