Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bobby Hutcherson - Enjoy the View (Blue Note, 2014)

Back on Blue Note Records after a long absence, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson leads an interesting band: Joey DeFrancesco on organ, David Sanborn on saxophone and Billy Hart on drums. While this album may not have the edginess of his early Blue Note albums like Dialogue and Components, it swings nicely and has a fine flow. "Don Is" is presumably dedicated to Don Was, the new label chief at Blue Note and the producer of this album. (There is an excellent conversation between Was and Hutcherson on this podcast.) It's a bright and uptempo swinging performance, Hutcherson is the key adding texture and shading the music, and taking a lovely solo, but I must admit to being knocked out by David Sandborn. Apparently, I had unfairly dismissed him as a smooth jazz lightweight, but his playing on this album, and a killer rawboned solo on this track are very impressive. Hutcherson co-led a group with the saxophonist Harold Land for several years and "For Harold" takes the music into faster terrain as Heart keeps everyone on their toes and trumpet overdubs from DeFrancesco (who else doubles on trumpet and organ? George Colligan, perhaps) adds front line depth. Sandborn is featured with thunderous drum support and he again makes the most of it. "Teddy" comes storming out of the gate with bubbling organ, vibes and drums performing forming an intricate dance. Sandborn's saxophone is sharp and pointed, clearing the way for some of Hutcherson's most impressive soloing on this record. DeFrancesco makes a great partner with the organ's bass pedals and support. This was a fine record, and will certainly shine a light on an excellent veteran musician who hasn't lost a step in the intervening years. First rate in the pocket mainstream jazz. Enjoy the View -

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