Bobby Hutcherson, a pioneering jazz vibraphonist whose style pushed the iconic Blue Note label into more spiritual and experimental directions, died yesterday at age 75. He was under ongoing treatment for emphysema. Along with a phenomenal career as a band leader on dozens of records, Hutchinson famously played on the jazz classics "Out to Lunch," by Eric Dolphy and "Mode for Joe,” by sax player Joe Henderson. From the New York Times:
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The first album (Hutchinson) released as a leader was “Dialogue” (1965), featuring Mr. Hill, the trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and the saxophonist and flutist Sam Rivers. Among his notable subsequent albums was “Stick-Up!” (1966), with Mr. Henderson and the pianist McCoy Tyner among his partners. He and Mr. Tyner would forge a close alliance.
After being arrested for marijuana possession in Central Park in 1967, Mr. Hutcherson lost his cabaret card, required of any musician working in New York clubs. He returned to California and struck a rapport with the tenor saxophonist Harold Land. Among the recordings they made together was “Ummh,” a funk shuffle that became a crossover hit in 1970. (It was later sampled by the rapper Ice Cube.)
In the early ’70s Mr. Hutcherson bought an acre of land along the coast in Montara, where he built a house. He lived there with his wife, the former Rosemary Zuniga, whom he married in 1972. She survives him, along with their son, Teddy Hutcherson, a marketing production manager for the organization SFJazz, as does his older son, Barry Hutcherson, a jazz drummer.