Bobby Hutcherson - Montara (1975): A Latin Jazz Fusion Masterpiece
Bobby Hutcherson was one of the most versatile and innovative vibraphonists in jazz history. He explored various styles and genres, from hard bop to free jazz, from modal to soul jazz. But one of his most memorable and enjoyable albums was Montara, released in 1975 on the Blue Note label. Montara is a fusion of Latin jazz and funk, featuring a stellar cast of musicians and arrangers. It is a feel-good album that showcases Hutcherson's melodic and rhythmic skills, as well as his ability to create catchy and groovy tunes.
The album was recorded at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, California on August 12 and 14, 1975. It was produced by Dale Oehler, who also arranged most of the tracks. The personnel included Oscar Brashear and Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Plas Johnson on flute, Ernie Watts and Fred Jackson Jr. on tenor saxophone and flute, Eddie Cano on piano, Larry Nash on electric piano, Dennis Budimir on guitar, Chuck Domanico and Dave Troncoso on bass, Harvey Mason on drums, and a percussion section composed of Bobby Matos, Johnny Paloma, Victor Pantoja, Ralph MacDonald, Willie Bobo, and Rudy Calzado[^1^] [^2^].
The album consists of eight tracks, seven of which are originals by Hutcherson or his collaborators. The only cover is "Oye Como Va", a classic by Tito Puente that became a hit for Santana in 1970. Hutcherson gives it a fresh and funky twist, with a prominent electric piano riff and a lively horn section. The title track, "Montara", is a beautiful ballad that features Hutcherson's lyrical vibraphone solo over a gentle Latin groove. The opening track, "Camel Rise", is a funky fusion piece that showcases the tight interplay between the horns and the rhythm section. "La Malanga (Se Acabo)" is a catchy and upbeat song that features vocals by Rudy Calzado, who also wrote the lyrics. "Love Song" is a romantic and soulful tune that features Blue Mitchell's warm trumpet solo and Plas Johnson's smooth soprano saxophone solo. "Little Angel" is a sweet and tender song that features Hutcherson's marimba playing over a soft background of strings and flutes. "Yuyo" is a fast and energetic song that displays Hutcherson's virtuosity on the vibes and marimba, as well as the percussionists' skills.
Montara is an album that has been praised by critics and fans alike. It is considered one of Hutcherson's best works, as well as one of the great Latin jazz albums of the 1970s[^1^] [^3^]. It is also one of the great groove jazz records that can appeal to a wide audience. It is an album that makes you feel good, that makes you want to dance, that makes you appreciate the beauty and diversity of jazz music.
If you are looking for a jazz album that is fun, funky, melodic, rhythmic, and soulful, look no further than Bobby Hutcherson - Montara (1975). It is a fusion masterpiece that will make you smile and groove.
Montara has been reissued several times on CD and vinyl, with different bonus tracks and remastering. The original CD release in 1998 included two alternate takes of "Camel Rise" and "Oye Como Va". The 2003 remastered edition added two more alternate takes of "Montara" and "La Malanga". The 2014 vinyl reissue by Music Matters Jazz restored the original track order and artwork, and used the original analog tapes for the mastering. The album has also been sampled by various hip-hop artists, such as Madlib, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, and J Dilla, who recognized its timeless appeal and influence.
Montara is not only a showcase of Bobby Hutcherson's musical vision and talent, but also a testament to his love for his hometown of Los Angeles. The album title refers to a street in his neighborhood of View Park, where he grew up and still lives today. The album cover features a photo of him standing on a hill overlooking the city, with a smile on his face. The music reflects his appreciation for the diverse and vibrant culture of L.A., as well as his gratitude for his family and friends who supported him throughout his career. Montara is an album that celebrates life, joy, and creativity.
If you are a fan of Bobby Hutcherson, or if you are new to his music, Montara is an essential album to listen to. It is a masterpiece that transcends genres and eras, and that will make you feel good every time you play it. It is an album that deserves to be heard by everyone who loves jazz music. 061ffe29dd