Bobby Hutcherson: Idle While


Idle While



Dialogue (Blue Note CD 35586)

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Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Sam Rivers (reeds), Andrew Hill (piano), Richard Davis (bass), Joe Chambers (drums).

Composed by Joe Chambers


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, April 3, 1965


Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

Although Bobby Hutcherson's earlier date, The Kicker, has since been released on CD, Dialogue, at the time of original release in 1965, was Bobby Hutcherson’s first album as a leader. Recorded shortly after Eric Dolphy’s seminal Out to Lunch date, on which Hutcherson performed, Dialogue is a prime example of the mid ‘60s stylistic transformation from strictly swinging hard bop to free-leaning-yet-still-grooving post bop. While Hutcherson would reveal handfuls of fine compositions on future albums, it’s pianist Hill and drummer Chambers who contribute all of the compositions to this date.

On the Chambers-composed waltz, “Idle While,” it’s the musicians’ careful attention to mood and atmosphere that reveals this album’s ultimate significance. Hubbard delivers an improvisation that doesn’t necessarily compete with his best work – but it importantly balances the form of this boundary-pushing modern waltz with a bop classicism that ties together the progress of the present and the vocabulary of the past. Check out Hill and Hutcherson swapping opportunities to provoke Hubbard with unpredicted harmonic twists. Richard Davis delivers a brief yet excellent solo here, and more importantly, always seems to possess a creative solution to maintaining cohesion no matter how far out any player goes over any arrangement, making him an unsung hero in the development of free(er) bebop and hard-bop.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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