‘Happenings‘ is the first album to present Hutcherson as the featured soloist fronting a conventional rhythm section, instead of amongst the experimentally-inclined sextets and quintets he’d led and guested with before. These had produced, most notably, Hutcherson’s own ‘Dialogue’, on which I wrote about earlier.
Today’s featured song ‘Bouquet’ is a slow, stately waltz. Hutcherson introduces the theme with supple assistance from Hancock and light brushwork by Chambers. Note the simplicity of the lines in Herbie’s spare solo and the added dimension supplied by Bob Cranshaw’s bass accents. “…I was inspired to write ‘Bouquet’ after listening to some of the work of Erik Satie (one of my personal favorite composers as well, ed.), says Bobby. He did several things that sound like that to me; he used a lot of 3/4. They’re all seventh and eleventh cords here, moving alternately, like from D to B to D-flat to B-flat to C to A, and so forth. It’s supposed to be a peaceful thing, just to make you relax, with that bass figure as a foundation…”
For those who are unfamiliar with the work of Erik Satie: I’ve put a perfect example of his work, to which Hutcherson is referring to, here (on my YouTube channel).
Bobby Hutcherson - Vibraphone Herbie Hancock - Piano Bob Cranshaw - Bass Joe Chambers - Drums
Possibly the greatest vibraphonist of the free-jazz generation, Los Angeles-born Bobby Hutcherson (1941), who relocated to New York in 1961, played on Jackie McLean’s ‘One Step Beyond‘ (1963) and ‘Destination Out‘ (1963), as well as on Eric Dolphy’s ‘Conversations‘ (1963) and ‘Out to Lunch‘ (1964), before making this fantastic album ‘Dialogue‘ (april 1965), the album that set the pace for the rest of his creative career. For his first album as a leader, Hutcherson gathered a sextet to play music that straddled the border between hard-bop and free-jazz.
The title ‘Dialogue’ perfectly describes the approach this group takes. They continually interact and feed off each other with amazing results. In the great tradition of ensemble jazz, individual talents are allowed to shine but only within the framework of the greater whole. Hutcherson is only the de facto leader, as Andrew Hill and Joe Chambers composed the themes and Hill did the arrangements that provide the take-off point for the group.
Originally issued on the album ‘Spiral’ and now a bonus track on ‘Dialogue’, ‘Jasper’ is more of a straight ahead blues that includes some tremendous soloing by both Rivers and Hubbard.
Bobby Hutcherson - Vibraphone Sam Rivers - Tenor Saxophone Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet Andrew Hill - Piano Richard Davis - Bass Joe Chambers - Drums
There is a small chance you might slip into a Post-Holiday Depression, so here is a little happy, summery song to at least help you get through the first Monday of 2011. It’s a jazz standard written by Mongo Santamaría, probably best known for the version by John Coltrane, but the first recording of the song ‘Afro-Blue’ is by Cal Tjader, in 1959.
Born in St. Louis in 1925, Cal Tjader was a Latin jazz musician, though he also explored various other jazz idioms. Unlike other American jazz musicians who experimented with the music from Cuba, the Caribbean and Latin America, he never abandoned it, and performed it until his death in 1982.
The album ‘Soul Sauce’ from 1964 is one of the highlights from Tjader’s catalog with its appealing mixture of mambo, samba and bolero styles.
Cal Tjader - Vibraphone Lonnie Hewitt - Piano Bob Bushnell - Bass Jimmy Heath - Tenor Saxophone Kenny Burrell - Guitar Donald Byrd - Trumpet Willie Bobo - Percussion Armanda Peraza - Percussion Grady Tate - Drums