San Francisco is the perfect introductory album to American jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Featuring his right-hand man Harold Land on reeds, the duo’s style takes a step forward from their previous post-bop and hard bop sound that didn’t sweep records off the shelves, into more commercial jazz fusion territory, without compromising on edge, intricacy, intellect, or coolness. The short album squeezes in a lot of variety, confidently juxtaposing multiple personalities within one identity: groove-laden jazz funk, riff-heavy jazz rock, conceptual modality, and deep spiritualism. If you’re not listening from start to finish, best to enjoy each track individually in its own listening context, maybe even with its own cocktail, as they’re so distinct. “Ummh” is a head-bobbing toe-tapping straight riff number to unwind to (that seems like it’d make a great mash up with Pink Floyd’s “Money”). “Goin’ Down South” is the album’s peak funk, and can be listened to again and again, especially driving in the sun with the windows down. “Prints Tie” and “Procession” are the headier sophisticates of the album, better suited for active listening with eyes shut, slowly sipping in the sounds as they evolve and unfurl over time.
– Lauren Fay Levy
Recommended – A1 Goin’ Down South, A2 Prints Tie, B2 Procession
Tags: Home Listening / Jazz / Jazz-funk / Post Bop