Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Apr 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Spirited Away

music_Bobby_HutchersonBobby Hutcherson on spontaneity, technique and music as prayer
With all the records under Bobby Hutcherson’s belt—about 70, if you include his recordings as a sideman—you’d think he would spend the occasional day sitting at home, listening to his music and reminiscing about old times. Not so, says the legendary post-bop/free jazz/hard bop vibraphonist.

“If you listen to yourself, then you program yourself, and you say to yourself, ‘Oh, I like what I just played right there,’” the musician states. “And every time you get to that spot in that song, you play that! Music should be like the wind: You don’t know where it came from; you don’t know where it went. It only passes through once.”

Hutcherson, who appears at Kuumbwa Jazz on Monday, Jan. 24 (three days after his 70th birthday), has an unusually linear playing style for a vibraphonist. He notes, however, that it’s possible to “flirt around with the harmonics” even while playing a horizontal melodic line.

“You can still do arpeggios and play vertical; you can all of a sudden spell the chord, or you can spell the substitutes,” he says, adding that in many situations, intervals of minor thirds and fourths are always agreeable. “Like, pentatonic scales or pentatonic chords are all contained within everything,” he observes. “But it’s gotta feel natural [to use such devices]. You just don’t do it to do it, because otherwise it becomes a lesson, you know? If you do it the wrong way, it’s just going to sound like a bunch of notes. You have to do it as though you’re talking; as though words can be put to it.”

Hutcherson, a deeply spiritual person, believes that the bandstand should be an altar where one comes to pray. “The more you understand that, then the more you understand that it has nothing to do with you,” he offers. “Because only when you understand that can you understand the eternity of it.

When you think about someone after they’ve passed away, you think about their spirit, and the spirit is forever. And contained in that spirit is the note and the sound that truly gave them the reason to be here to play. And it won’t be a group of notes; it’ll be just this one sound that they had.” He adds, “The spirit stays with all the people who had the chance to hear this person play. The spirit stays forever; the soul is gone. So, it’s like the soul can play all the trickier stuff!” He stops to let out a hearty laugh.

The vibraphonist stresses the importance of being able to make a single note sing. “Sometimes the most basic stuff is the most important,” he says. “Is the note gonna be proud? Are you gonna play it at the top of the beat, the middle of the beat or behind the beat? Is this note gonna be sassy? Is it gonna be nasty? Is it gonna be quick? Is it gonna be long? Is it gonna have a sharp edge? Is it gonna be dull, sad, happy? Sometimes it’s worth forgetting about all the other slick stuff and just going back to the first note and working on that.”

And if the performer should hit a sour note? “There are no wrong notes; it’s only the look on your face,” Hutcherson opines. “You can hit the same note, and to the audience, whether it was right or wrong depends on the look on your face.”


The Bobby Hutcherson Quartet plays at 7 and 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, at Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25 in advance or $28 at the door for the 7 p.m. show, $20 in advance or $23 at the door for the 9 p.m. show. For more information, call 427-2227.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.

 

Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.