Bobby Hutcherson Day

January 27, 1941 – August 15, 2016

A tribute to the influential vibraphonist

Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson was born on January 27, 1941 in Los Angeles, California.

Hutcherson began playing the vibes when he was 12 after hearing a Milt Jackson record.

While still a teenager, he was part of the late 1950s jazz scene in Los Angeles, working with Curtis Amy, Carmell Jones and Charles Lloyd.

He made his first recordings in 1960 with Les McCann and the Curtis Amy-Frank Butler Sextet, becoming a member of the Billy Mitchell-Al Grey group in 1962.

After moving to New York, Hutcherson joined Jackie McLean’s group, recording on McLean’s One Step Beyond, his first of many albums for the Blue Note label.

The vibraphonist (sometimes used in place of a pianist) recorded for Blue Note with Grachan Moncur III, Eric Dolphy, Dexter Gordon, Andrew Hill, Tony Williams, Grant Green, Joe Henderson, Big John Patton, Duke Pearson, and Lee Morgan, playing everything from hard bop to freer forms of jazz.

Hutcherson also led ten Blue Note albums of his own in the mid-to-late 1960s, working with the label until 1977.

He co-led a group with tenor-saxophonist Harold Land off and on for quite a few years, was part of the Timeless All Stars with Curtis Fuller and Cedar Walton, was a member of the SF Jazz Collective during 2004-08, and led many albums of his own for a variety of labels.

One of the greatest jazz vibraphonists of all time, Hutcherson (who played with everyone from Sonny Rollins to Joshua Redman) ranks at the top with Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, Milt Jackson, Terry Gibbs and Gary Burton.

He performs “Herzog” with Harold Land in 1969.


Bobby Hutcherson, vibes
Harold Land, tenor sax
Stanley Cowell, piano
Reggie Johnson, bass
Joe Chambers, drums

-Scott Yanow


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