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Bobby Hutcherson (1941 - 2016)

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Bobby Hutcherson (1941 - 2016)

Bobby Hutcherson, a legendary jazz vibraphonist, died Aug. 15, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 75.

Hutcherson had been struggling with emphysema for many years.

Hutcherson was considered to be one of jazz’s greatest improvisers, and his sound influenced many younger vibraphonists including Steve Nelson and Joe Locke.

Hutcherson was born in Los Angeles and was inspired to play the vibraphone by the jazz great Milt Jackson. As his skill progressed, he moved to New York City with a band he was playing with at the time. Eventually, he started to record for Blue Note Records. Hutcherson performed and recorded with Eric Dolphy when he was in New York.


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He moved back to his native California and played with jazz greats like pianist McCoy Tyner. He also performed and recorded with Herbie Hancock and legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Rollins said, “I’ve always loved playing with Bobby.” “He’s a consummate musician and extremely gifted in jazz improvisation. It’s always been fun, enlightening and intellectually challenging playing with Bobby, and always emotional as well.”

Saxophone great Joshua Redman played with Bobby Hutcherson in the SFJAZZ Collective. “We talk a lot about how music expresses universal values, experiences, and feelings. But you don’t often witness that so clearly and so profoundly as you do with Bobby,” Redman said in 2012. “His music expresses the joy of living. He connects to the source of what music is about.”

Hutcherson also acted in a few movies including “Round Midnight.”

Hutcherson is survived by his wife, Rosemary, and two sons.

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