The grand master of the vibes, Bobby Hutcherson, has teamed up again with the big ears of Joey DeFrancesco for his latest CD, Somewhere in the Night (Kind of Blue Records). The recording was taken during a performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in the fall of 2009 and the audience adds an enjoyable energy that can easily be heard in the recording. Hutcherson and DeFrancesco are joined by guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Byron Landham. Hutcherson and DeFrancesco have recorded before on the CD Organic Vibes (Concord, 2006). However, Hutcherson has not recorded with the organ since the mid-sixties with Organist Larry Young on Grant Green's CD Street Of Dreams (Blue Note, 1964), and on organist Big John Patton's CD Let 'Em Roll (Blue Note, 1965). Time has only enhanced the mastery of Hutcherson. The chemistry between the players is evident, the sounds and textures of the organ are immaculate.
Hutcherson’s touch and command of the instrument has not waned a bit. Certainly the result of playing with hard boppers like Grant Green, Hank Mobley, and Herbie Hancock, but also playing just as fluently with avant-garde experimentalists like Jackie McLean, Grachan Moncur III, Archie Shepp, Andrew Hill, and Eric Dolphy are weaved into his sound. Through these associations, Hutcherson became one of the defining voices in the Blue Note's glorious 1960s roster and sound.
The date opens with "Teddy," the pocket is deep and Hutcherson and DeFranceso waste no time in reaching in and pulling out one creative statement after another. Hutcherson’s well-known waltz, "Little B's Poem," is propelled by Landham’s dancing stick work as each player develops their themes to the delight of the audience, both then and now. Things get bluesy in the blues form and repeating lick of “SKJ,” a nice nod to the great CD Bags Meets Wes! The blues continues on an up version of "Take the Coltrane" with notes-a-plenty from all, but again Hutcherson’s musical statements are just beautiful. A deep breath of rubato starts Coltrane’s "Wise One," which finally settles into a straight eighth groove. “Wise One,” is one of Coltrane’s contemplative works – first recorded on 1964’s Crescent date. Hutcherson has explored the tunes many possibilities on record before with his studio release entitled, Wise One (Kind Of Blue Records, 2009).
The gentle swing of “Somewhere in the Night” finds the soloists making great use of the seductive melody with swinging statements and just the right amount of breathing space. A beautiful mood is set with "My Foolish Heart," Hutcherson’s statement of the melody is breath taking, every note he plays seems to resonate back into his musical soul, great job by all on this one! A mid-up swinging "S'Wonderful" ends the set with Bernstein building a nice musical statement with the encouragement for the audience. As the ensemble swings it home in an upbeat fashion.
Track Listing: Teddy; Little B's Poem; SKJ; Take the Coltrane; Wise One; Somewhere in the Night; My Foolish Heart; S'Wonderful.
Personnel: Bobby Hutcherson: vibraphone; Joey DeFrancesco: Hammond B-3 organ; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Byron Landham: drums.
Record Label: Kind of Blue Records
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