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The Al Grey & Dave Burns Complete Sessions

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Album Review

This compilation presents vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson's first recordings, made in 1962 and 1963 with trombonist Al Grey, saxophonist Billy Mitchell and trumpeter Dave Burns. Hutcherson arrived in New York near the end of 1960 as a precocious 19-year-old and played his first gig at Birdland with the Grey/Mitchell band. The closely knit, solid mainstream jazz reissued here serves as an exciting prologue to Hutcherson's amazing Andrew Hill and Archie Shepp recordings, and to his subsequent evolution into the undisputed master of the vibes in modern jazz. The collective history represented by the three horn players is substantial and impressive. Each had worked with Dizzy Gillespie; Burns participated in some of James Moody's best early recordings and both Mitchell and Grey were seasoned veterans of earlier big bands who became essential members of the Count Basie Orchestra. A bit of discographical research reveals the following information: Tracks one through seven, recorded in Chicago on November 2 and November 5, 1962, were originally released in 1963 on the Argo album Night Song. Tracks eight through twelve, recorded at Birdland on January 31, 1962, were originally released on the Argo album Snap Your Fingers. Tracks 13 through 18, recorded in New York on January 29, 1963, came out later that year on the Argo album Having a Ball. The producers of this fully loaded 79-minute reissue package eliminated two numbers from the third album "due to their simple pop harmonies and Hutcherson's absence on both tracks." Note that "Nothing but the Truth," a Horace Silver-styled, gospel-infused number composed by Billy Bowen, bears only circumstantial resemblance to Rahsaan Roland Kirk's equally soulful "Nothing but the Truth," first heard on Kirk's 1966 Limelight album Slightly Latin.


Born: 27 January 1941 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Easily one of jazz's greatest vibraphonists, Bobby Hutcherson epitomized his instrument in relation to the era in which he came of age the way Lionel Hampton did with swing or Milt Jackson with bop. He wasn't as well-known as those two forebears, perhaps because he started out in less accessible territory when he emerged in the '60s playing cerebral, challenging modern jazz that often bordered on avant-garde. Along with Gary Burton, the other seminal vibraphone talent of the '60s, Hutcherson helped...
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The Al Grey & Dave Burns Complete Sessions, Bobby Hutcherson
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