Bobby Hutcherson: 8/4 Beat
Bobby Hutcherson (vibes)
Stick-Up! (Blue Note 59378)
Composed by Bobby Hutcherson.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, July 14, 1966
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
Stick-Up! is one of Hutcherson's finest albums, either from his Blue Note years or thereafter. It was the first time Joe Henderson had appeared on a Hutcherson-led session, and also the initial recorded interaction between the vibraphonist and McCoy Tyner. Also, an additional five from Hutcherson's ever growing list of first-class, distinctive compositions were introduced here, including the angular, rhythmically infectious "8/4 Beat." This is a tune that takes up permanent residence in your subconscious, picking out furniture, carpeting, and wallpaper. It's there to stay once you've heard it, especially after a few unavoidable repeat listens. Even Hutcherson, upon hearing it afterwards, remarked, "Wow! That's a good tune!"
"8/4 Beat" straddles hard and post bop, with none of the avant-garde or atonal leanings of some of his earlier works. Vibes and piano establish the 8/4 beat and vibes and tenor play the theme, enhanced not surprisingly by Billy Higgins' vibrant colorations. Henderson's opening, unforgettably inviting phrase draws you into his probing solo, his varied tonal inflections and insistent creative pulse carrying the day. Hutcherson follows with his chime-like sound, lucid phrasing, and percussively diverse attack. His solo builds slowly in intensity and relies on a series of savory motifs to complete a compelling narrative. Tyner's improvisation could almost have been played note for note by Hutcherson, so similar is it in substance and feel to the leader's style. No wonder Tyner and Hutcherson would hook up regularly in the years to come.
Reviewer: Scott Albin