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Hutcherson to bring vibraphone, jazz quintet to Three Stages in Folsom

By: Eileen Wilson, Telegraph correspondent
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Close your eyes and you can almost hear it – the smooth, dulcet tones that Bobby Hutcherson’s mallets make when they drift across his keyboard, lightly tapping a key here, a key there. But this isn’t just any keyboard. This is a vibraphone. Picture a xylophone on steroids, and you’ll get the idea. A man-sized instrument that lends itself to jazz like a delicious port lends itself to a decadent chocolate dessert. You don’t have to have it, but it makes the experience all the richer. And no one plays the vibraphone like Bobby Hutcherson. A living legend in the music world, friend and fellow Bobby Hutcherson Quintet member, Joe Gilman, puts it this way. “Bobby could be considered one of the greatest living jazz musicians, and one of the five greatest jazz vibraphonists of all time.” Hutcherson has received numerous awards, including the NEA Jazz Master Award (National Endowment of the Arts) in 2010. “Bobby has won the Critics Award for Jazz Vibraphonist in Downbeat Magazine (the country’s leading Jazz magazine), probably 20 times over the years,” Gilman said. Gilman, who has been the quintet’s pianist for six years, has a qualified opinion when it comes to music. A full-time professor of Jazz Studies at American River College, Dr. Gilman is also an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at California State University, Sacramento, and was the music director of the Capital Jazz Project for over a decade. Gilman said that Hutcherson rarely performs these days, so Three Stages’ audience is in for a rare treat. “The audience will hear contemporary, mainstream jazz, or acoustical jazz – songs like Old Devil Moon, and quite a few tunes made popular by Johnny Coltrane,” Gilman said. While Hutcherson creates beautiful, melodious sounds on his vibraphone, the audience is most excited when he really goes to town. Breaking a sweat, mallets flying in orchestrated frenzy, when Hutcherson gets his rhythm, the audience knows they’re experiencing musical genius, which they may never see the likes of again. “The vibraphone has the same keys as the piano, yet it’s played like you might play the drums,” Gilman explained. “One of the reasons that Bobby’s considered one of the greatest jazz musicians is the Blue Note (record label). In the 50s and 60s, Bobby had numerous records out. He was a big part of that sound of the time.” Gilman said the show will draw jazz lovers from far afield. “You’re going to be listening to one of the elder statesmen of jazz. Bobby has enjoyed a long, illustrious career as a jazz musician. He really loves what he does – he mixes up contemporary jazz with classical standards, and puts his own stamp on it,” Gilman said. * * * Bobby Hutcherson Quintet When: 8 p.m. Saturday Where: Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway, Folsom Cost: Tickets $19 - $39, $12 students with ID Information: Threestages.net