Bobby Hutcherson + Joey de Francesco Trio ‘Somewhere in the night’ (Kind of Blue) 4/5

Vibraphone and hammond organ are an occasional combination that results in some soulful and even avant garde . The former was exemplified by Johnny Lytle on his 1960s albums for Riverside while Bobby Hutcherson illustrated perfectly how adventurous the musical pairing can be on his Blue Note albums both as sideman and leader with Larry Young. For this live recording from New York’s Dizzy’s club, Hutcherson has enlisted the support of the fine young organist Joey de Francesco featuring guitarist Pete Bernstein, and reprised both old classics and the odd surprise interpretation. Of his most recent albums, the title track to the homage to John Coltrane, ‘Wise One, was especially well received and it is fascinating to hear this most spiritual of pieces with different instrumentation. A similarly atmospheric take is achieved while ‘Take the Coltrane’ is here taken at an altogether faster tempo which enables de Francesco to indulge in some high speed solos of which he has fast gained a reputation. Of course one of Hutcherson’s signature tunes and all-time favourite tunes is the lyrical ‘Little Bee’s poem’ and this is a brisk and breezy version. Milt Jackson is one of Hutcherson’s major influences and so iti s entirely fitting that old-school bop should be the order of the day on Jackson’s fine composition ‘Skj’ with guitar and vibes in unison. The great American songbook is the subject of the rest of the set and this includes Greshwin’s ‘S’wonderful’ with driving bassline making for a rousing finale and a nod to Bill Evans on ‘My foolish heart’. Now in his seventies, on this evidence Bobby Hutcherson is certainly well up to the task.

Tim Stenhouse