BOBBY HUTCHERSON Dialogue (Blue Note)
Another crucible of jazz talent, this. Leading his first date, his vibraphone and marimba lending the album a tropical timbre, Hutcherson is joined by fellow compadres in chaos from Eric Dolphy's "Out To Lunch" session trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and bassist Richard Davis (again). Sam Rivers, briefly a member of Miles Davis' group, plays tenor and soprano saxes, bass clarinet and flute, and pianist Andrew Hill (again!) and drummer Joe Chambers bring the tunes.
With all that assembled talent it would almost be a crime if "Dialogue" wasn't a good album, and, happily, it doesn't disappoint. it's arguably at its best at the more accessible end of its span, namely the mambo stylings of "Catta", "Idle While"'s waltz and the bluesy "Ghetto Lights". These are tunes you could hum, at a pinch, and a walk in the park by the usual standards of some of the musicians involved. Somewhat less conventionally, "Les Noirs Marchant" sounds like a military march past infested with severe insubordination issues, and the title track is totally unfettered by outdated concepts like harmony, melody and rhythm, finding the album at its most Dolphy-esque.
The currently vinyl reissue is a product of the generally unloved Scorpio Music. The difference between that company's work and the competing 45rpm audiophile Blue Note reissue series that typically sell for five times the price of a Scorpio pressing is marked. The Scorpio throws a jumbled heap of music at the listener, the musicians seemingly having to metaphorically shout to get their point across. A more sophisticated reissue would put some space (clear blue notes, perhaps) between the musicians; less a tangled mess, more like six people playing music in a room. But, there's the rub: with neither Acoustic Sounds nor Music Matters taking the bait, Scorpio's version is currently the only way to hear this music on factory fresh vinyl.