Vibraphone Masters Course - Bobby Hutcherson Idle Moments

The Vibraphone Masters: Bobby Hutcherson ‘Idle Moments’

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Welcome! This course is the first in a series of courses I’m designing called The Vibraphone Masters, with the goal of celebrating some of the great vibraphonists in history, while also improving our own musicianship and playing. So let’s talk about Bobby Hutcherson.

When older musicians would tell me “hey, you need to check out Bobby Hutcherson”, I didn’t just listen to a couple of tunes…I went all in.  I bought his records, saw his concerts, and tried to play some of his solos.  I methodically tried to incorporate his language into my playing.  So remember, when someone tells you ‘hey you should check out so-and-so’ – THIS is how you do it. 😉 In this course, we will take a deep dive into one of Bobby Hutcherson’s incredible vibraphone solos – ‘Idle Moments’ from the Grant Green record of the same name.  This solo is a great way to absorb some of his language, while learning about phrasing, stretching the time feel, and creating an incredible mood on the vibraphone.  It’s also one of the easiest Bobby Hutcherson solos out there that I could find. Bobby could make the instrument sway and swing unlike anyone else, which is why he’s a vibraphone master that we should study up close.

What’s included in the course?

  • Nearly 90 (!) minutes of video lessons with overhead camera angles, color-coded keyboard maps and on-screen musical notation.
  • A breakdown of the entire solo
  • Exercises based on phrases Bobby plays in this solo
  • PDF book with each of the lessons and exercises  – music is available for C, Bb and Eb instruments (others available on request)
  • CALL-AND-RESPONSE lesson videos – These are videos with a backing track where you and I can trade solos using the riffs and language we’ve learned from this solo.
  • MP3 Backing Tracks of the Call-And-Response practice lessons

I’ve structured the course to follow the same process that I go through when learning a solo.  We will listen to it together, then break it down in 8 bar sections.  After that, we will integrate Bobby’s phrases into the flow of normal improvisation.

I looked at 6 specific ‘language’ sections that Bobby used in his solo.  In my opinion, these phrases are also staples of his repertoire and part of his individual style.  You will hear similar things in other solos he plays. 

How does ‘Call and Response’ work?

‘Call and response’ at its core is maybe the most effective way to learn improvisation.  Simply put, it’s this: I play, you play.  For each lesson in this course I’ve made a video ‘Call and response’ playalong.  Each ‘CnR’ works on a specific line or riff from the solo – but I might play it in slightly different ways, or change the last note, or vary the rhythm.  It’s your job to try and imitate what I’ve done.. or you can just play something else, too.  The point is that the practicing and spontaneity are played in tempo with the chords.  These ‘Call and response’ playalongs are also available as MP3 downloads as part of the course.

How do I know if this course is right for me?

Tim Collins, Jazz Vibraphonist

This is an intermediate level course. The tune ‘Idle Moments’ is not that difficult, and it’s in the key of C minor which is very common for easy jazz standards.  But, I would say that even for advanced players, the MUSICAL challenges presented by this solo really have no limit – there is always another nuance to the level of time feel one can develop :).  If you are looking for a guided method for transcribing and practicing an existing solo, I feel this course will really help you.

Check out the lesson structure below!

As always, you may email me with any questions too.  Thanks for reading!

– Tim

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