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Jazz Vibraphone Master Bobby Hutcherson Dies at 75

  • VOA News

FILE - A jazz musician plays the vibraphone.

FILE - A jazz musician plays the vibraphone.

Bobby Hutcherson, one of the most acclaimed jazz vibraphonists of all times has died. He was 75.

Hutcherson died Monday at his family home in Montara, a small seaside community south of San Francisco. The cause was complications related to emphysema, longtime family friend Marshall Lamm said.

Hutcherson played with a litany of jazz greats as both bandleader and sideman during a career spanning more than 50 years, including Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins and childhood friend Dexter Gordon.

When Enjoy the View, the last of his more than 40 albums, was released in 2014, JazzTimes magazine declared it “a worthy addition to an era-defining discography.”

Robert Hutcherson was born Jan. 17, 1941, in Los Angeles and raised in the nearby suburb of Pasadena.

He studied piano as a child but switched to vibraphone after hearing Milt Jackson play the instrument on a recording of Thelonious Monk's Bemsha Swing.

He was one of the first vibraphonists to use four mallets. He could fill the role of a pianist in terms of melody and harmony and also play percussively with a driving rhythmic attack.

Hutcherson is survived by his wife, Rosemary, and sons Teddy and Barry, the latter a jazz drummer.