Gratitude for Bobby Hutcherson

In the summer of 2016, I was in the midst of digging into some difficult questions about myself and why I play music. I was trying to understand my purpose and place in the world, to help me figure out what to do next. And I was feeling a bit lost.

I was set to go on a meditation retreat, and two days before leaving, I learned that Bobby Hutcherson, one of my musical heroes who has influenced me the most in my life, passed away. It brought up a lot. And it made for a rocky retreat. There were a few days straight of having a couple of his sullen ballads stuck on loop in my head, his poignant sound, ethereal and haunting, ringing in my brain.

If I’m being entirely honest, I’d have to say I felt some regret. I felt like I hadn’t had a chance to truly express to Bobby what he and his music meant to me. Now that a few years have passed, I’ve accepted it and see this a bit differently but at the time it was really hard. Layers of grief and loss that have taken time to get through.

Bobby exemplified a joyful playfulness in his energy and way of being, and that came through in his music. As Herbie Hancock said about him, “What he plays has a particular lift to it because he himself is so alive, because he so digs being.”

In the brief times that I got to be around him, I found that to be so true. And he was one of the funniest people I have ever met. I’ll never forget those times I got to talk with him, and I am so grateful for that.

One of Bobby’s quotes that has stuck with me the most over the years:

“Music is not the image, it’s the reflection.”

Your music is a reflection of the life you’ve lived and who you are as a person. And that is what’s most important.

Thank you, Bobby. Thank you so much for your wisdom, for all the music you shared with the world that lives on, and for all the inspiration. I will be forever grateful.

Top Twelve Most Influential Bobby Hutcherson Albums

in no particular order:


Left Column: Farewell Keystone, Total Eclipse, San Franciso, Montara

Middle Column: Cirrus, Solo Quartet, Patterns, Spiral/Medina

Right Column: In the Vanguard, Skyline, Now!, Happenings

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