Original Release date: 1965
Re-release date: 12th September 2006
As Bobby Hutcherson’s importance as an architect of 60’s jazz continues to increase, Blue Note must be eyeing with some delight the rather large back catalogue of his work that is awaiting re-release. “Happenings”, superbly remixed by Rudy Van Gelder, is a very welcome reappearance of an album that has been largely unavailable since its initial release in the mid ‘sixties.
Backed by a very responsive band (Herbie Hancock, piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Joe Chambers, drums) Bobby Hutcherson delivers an absorbing performance on vibes of six of his own compositions together with a version of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” that offers a significant alternate reading of the Hancock/Coleman/Hubbard/Carter/ Williams performance.
“Bouquet”, the stand out track, is a modal piece that captures a calm and beauty that resembles a deep meditation, both vibes and piano contributing equally to the sense of space and unfolding possibilities. “Aquarian Moon” and “Rojo” are edgier, more uptempo pieces that allow Boby Hutcherson’s vibe playing to really flow while “Head Start” is openly upbeat, somewhat in the same zone as “The Kicker”. “When You Are Near” is a traditional sounding slow ballad in which the title is spoken by the main melody line; it would make a fine jazz ballad for a Diana Krall today if words were skillfully added. The set is finished off with a more “out” freeform piece “The Omen” with Joe Chambers drum beats at its heart which sounds a suitable note of forewarning.
Overall, this is fine straight ahead jazz with really outstanding soloing from Bobby Hutcherson and fine performances from the most gifted of backing musicians. Recommended.
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