You know, I really don’t remember when I met Bobby Hutcherson. In some relationships it just seems like you’ve known them forever, and that was certainly the case with Bobby. I can remember being in the Bay Area and seeing Bobby on the scene in the early 1970s. Our paths may have crossed earlier, when we were both living in New York in the late ’60s and I was working with Joe Henderson. But I definitely remember being around the Both/And Club in San Francisco, seeing Bobby hanging outside, and just saying hi to him in passing.
I was living out West at that time, but I wasn’t living in San Francisco yet. I was living in Los Angeles and working with Freddie Hubbard between ’71 and ’76. I’d go on the road with Freddie and we’d play at Keystone Korner in San Francisco on our way back to L.A. So on our way out, [club owner] Todd Barkan would say, “George, what are you doing next week?” I’d say, “I’m going home!” He’d say, “Well, you busy? Want a gig?” I was already working so much at Keystone Korner that I was like a house pianist, and I was definitely working with Bobby in that capacity. He would call me up when I was living in L.A. and his band needed a pianist. So we had worked together for quite a while by the time we made our first recording together, which was [1976’s] Waiting. I was great friends with him by then.