Jazz giant Bobby Hutcherson dies at 75 (via SF Gate)

Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, one of jazz’s greatest improvisers and a deep, sweet-souled musician who played with enormous feeling, fire and grace, died Monday. Aug. 15, at his home in Montara on the San Mateo coast. He was 75 and had battled emphysema for many years.

Over his prolific 55-year career, Mr. Hutcherson, a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, performed and recorded with many of the greatest jazz artists of his time, including tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, pianists Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton and drummer Billy Higgins. 

Mr. Hutcherson produced a singularly beautiful sound on the vibraphone, a resonating metal-and-wood percussion instrument used mostly for novelty effect until jazz musicians like Lionel Hampton made it swing in the 1930s, and the lyrical bebopper Milt Jackson made it sing with a richness, warmth and grit that inspired a 12-year-old kid from Pasadena named Hutcherson to take up the vibraphone and expand its expressive range.

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