“Critic Kevin Whitehead remembers the jazz notables who died this year, including vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, singer/pianist Mose Allison, pianist Paul Bley and trumpeter Paul Smoker.
TERRY GROSS, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. We lost some great jazz musicians this year including singers Ernestine Anderson and Kay Starr, saxophonists Gato Barbieri and Joe Temperley, pianists Connie Crothers and Sir Charles Thompson, clarinetist Pete Fountain, flutist Jeremy Steig, harmonica player Toots Thielemans. Our jazz critic Kevin Whitehead remembers a few other musicians who died this year.
KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson in 1963 with Bob Cranshaw on bass recorded by engineer Rudy Van Gelder. We lost all three of them in 2016 – Hutcherson, one of the grand masters of the vibes, Bob Cranshaw, Sonny Rollins’ longtime bassist of choice and Rudy Van Gelder who over five decades recorded more classic jazz albums than anyone at his home studios in New Jersey.
Bobby Hutcherson could sound radically clanky early on with Eric Dolphy, though he spent more time exploring the vibe’s fluid lyrical and bluesy side. But he never forgot vibraphone as a percussion instrument.“