The recently departed Bobby Hutcherson was one of the great vibraphone (as well as marimba) players in jazz. His music could look forward or look back and he cut some Latin and soul-jazz records as well. He sometimes would use the four-mallet technique, especially when there was no piano. His '60s & early '70s albums remain my favorite material.
Bobby grew up in the Los Angeles area, started playing some piano as a child but was inspired to play vibes after hearing a Milt Jackson record. He knew Dexter Gordon and Eric Dolphy from around L.A. He briefly studied with Dave Pike and worked locally in the '50s with Charles Lloyd, Paul Bley, Frank Butler, Gerald Wilson and others before moving to NYC in '61, where he played with Jackie McLean, Dolphy, Grant Green, Grachan Moncur III, Archie Shepp, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Joe Chambers and many others. He cut a bunch of records primarily for Blue Note in the '60s & '70s. In '71 he moved to San Francisco and worked with Blue MItchell and/or Harold Land on many projects and in '79 took part in the historic Havana Jam concerts in Cuba. His career kept rolling 'til the end, and Hutcherson was not only influential as a musician but his records were also successful and he carved out a steady career.
Dialogue, from '65, is not only his first album as a leader, but it is a masterpiece, with several Andrew Hill compositions, including "Catta":