You don’t hear this enough anymore. Not just a straight-ahead record, and not just a soulful one. But the two things combined into one finger-licking, chin-wagging, cool-side-of-the-pillow triumph.
“Delia” sounds like what Blue Note used to sound like, back when the label featured all-star amalgams meeting up for ozone-scented blowing sessions then packaged them behind hipster album covers constructed with this memorable art-house hipness.
Same here, as we find vibesman Bobby Hutcherson making a stirring return to the same Blue Note imprint, only to connect with a completely in-the-pocket saxophonist David Sanborn, the reliably funky organist Joey DeFrancesco and ace drummer Billy Hart. “Delia” advances Enjoy the View, due on June 24, 2014. Even the cover is a throw-back delight.
Hutcherson, someone who would have been a major star years ago had he instead picked up a horn, remains reliably brilliant. His approach is to challenge the instrument in the same way his confederates did in the brass and reed sections, rather then settling for the vibraphone’s typical show-off flourishes. Nothing on “Delia” will challenge his most interesting 1960s-era work on Blue Note — we’re talking, after all, about a stint that included work on Eric Dolphy’s towering Out to Lunch — but that’s no real source of embarrassment.
Instead, coupled with a group of sympathetic collaborators, “Delia” simply reaffirms everything you always loved about Hutcherson’s playing — and about the era, the label, and the sound, from which he first emerged.