Bobby Hutcherson: American Jazz Vibraphonist

HardBop Jazz

Hard Bop Jazz is a sub-genre of jazz and an extension of bebop jazz. It was originated in the mid-1950s and incorporated the phrasing and harmonies of blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel music. Many jazz artists have contributed Hard Bop Jazz, such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and many more. The one artist has changes the hard bop style was Bobby Hutchinson. He was one of the American most excellent jazz vibraphonist and marimba player; he was recognized for his music from the 1960s- 70s. The upbringing that leads him to become a vibraphonist; his music style was unique and shifting up.

Hutcherson Life

Hutcherson was born on January 29, 1941, in Los Angles, California. He came from a family who was all jazz musicians such as his sister was a jazz singer and his brother was friends with Dexter Gordon(an American jazz tenor saxophonist). He started to play the piano as a child by his Aunt, and he self-taught himself to play the vibraphone at the age of 13. After graduating, he started a bebop band with his friend Herbie Lewis. Before, he joins an all-ensemble led by Al Grey and Grant Green in the 1960s.

Insturments and Music Style

Hutcherson has a unique music style. His style was luminescent and cooly fluid. When playing the vibraphone, he incorporated a four-mallet technique instead of a two-mallet technique and adapting to a free post-bop style. His sound and innovative style on the vibrating help revive the instrument in the late 1960s.

Hutcherson Involvment with Blue Note

At the start of his career, he was in a jazz band created by Al Grey and Billy Mitch in San Francisco from 1961 until 1963. Performance with the band has helped him to advance in his next career. In 1964, he then worked with Eric Dolphy on his album ” Out to Lunch.” Hutcherson was providing free-range chords and harmonically advanced solos. While being with the Blue Notes Record, He produced his first album as the lead in “Dialogue in 1968. Then he went to create more albums such as Components in 1965, and Stick Up in 1967. His song “Little B Poem become his most well-known composition.

Shifting to Jazz Fusion

In the 1970s, He wanted to changes his style. He went from produce hardtop style to jazz fusion style. He teamed up with saxophonist Hard Land to create an album named San Fransisco. They produce soulful and muscular funk jazz.

Later in Life

Later on in Life, from 2004-2007, he went on tour with the San Fransisco Jazz Collective band. He produces his final album, which was a soul-jazz style called ‘Enjoy the View in 2016. He died at the age of 75 on August 15, 2016.



Overall, His music style and he brought revile the vibration has the jazz into the mainstream in the different—Hutcherson instrument influence other young vibration such a Steve Nelson, Joe Locke, and Stefan Harris.

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