James "Hutch" Hutchinson
James "Hutch" Hutchinson grew up in Somerville, Massachusetts. As a kid, he was hanging around the clubs in Harvard Square in the early and mid 1960's during the folk and blues revival which were (and still are) great places for seeing, hearing and playing music from around the world. As a pre-teen he had sung and played some guitar and mandolin in bluegrass bands but zeroed in on the bass at age 12 after seeing Wilson Pickett and his great touring band. Throughout high school, Hutch played electric and acoustic bass in a variety of bands in the New England Area.
Moving to the San Francisco Bay area after graduating high school, he played in some jam bands in Santa Cruz and Latin bands in the Mission District, eventually meeting John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart and Grateful Dead engineer Dan Healy, all of whom, according to Hutch, "sort of adopted me" in a musical sense,.
"I worked on sessions of all types at Mickey's Ranch and played gigs around the Bay Area while living in Mill Valley. In the early 1970s I ended up playing with John Cipollina in a band called Copperhead, touring and recording almost daily (actually nightly) and doing one self-titled Copperhead album for Columbia Records."
"One night I got a call from a friend who was working on some sessions down in Central America. He suggested I come down for a few weeks for some recording dates. I ended up staying for 18 months working in the studio in a number of countries with a number of different Latin artists, absorbing the music and the culture while being able to venture into the mountains and the rainforest on my off days. The Bay area violinist Sid Page came down at my prompting and we put together a Latin jazz fusion group which we named The Point, recorded some in Guatemala and El Salvador with some of the great musicians available there, and eventually brought the band to Austin, Texas, where, after playing many an opening slot at The Armadillo World Headquarters, won top Jazz Group in what I believe were the very first Austin/Texas Music Awards!" The year was 1977.
In Austin, having been introduced to The Meters by a mutual friend, Hutch got a call from Art and Charles Neville. "Art and Charles came to my home in Austin and the next thing I knew I was moving back down to New Orleans (where I had spent some time in my teen years) to play in the Neville Bros. Band. I ended up working with them on and off for the next five or so years while also working with many other New Orleans musicians from Jesse Hill and Huey Smith to Earl King, The Lastie Brothers, James Black, Professor Longhair, The Wild Tchoupitoulas and James Booker, amongst others."
In 1981 on the Rolling Stones Tattoo You tour, on which The Neville Brothers Band were opening a number of shows, Hutch struck up a friendship with the Stones' keyboardist, Ian McLagen, who introduced him to Bonnie Raitt while in the French Quarter in Dec. of 1982. In mid-1983 Hutch moved to Los Angeles at the urging of friends Al Kooper and Mac Rebennack, who were already there. Not long after he arrived, he joined Bonnie's band in a whirlwind when her bass player had left just three days before a tour. He's been recording and touring with her ever since.
Hutch has enjoyed a very rewarding and interesting career as a studio musician working with The Neville Brothers, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Al Green, B.B. King, Crosby Stills and Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young, The Chieftains, Boz Scaggs, Joe Cocker, Elton John, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, David Crosby, Ziggy Marley, Hank Williams Jr., Alejandro Escovedo, Pops Staples, Merle Haggard, Toots Hibbert, Delbert Mclinton, Bob Seger, Kathy Mattea, Garth Brooks, Lyle Lovett, Tanya Tucker, The B 52s, Etta James, Maria Muldaur, Ivan Neville, Willie Nelson, Pattie La Belle, Vince Gill, Bryan Adams, Ryan Adams, Randy Newman,The B-52's, Anne Murray, Colin James, Jann Arden, The Proclaimers, Stevie Nicks, Ritchie Sambora, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and many other artists as well as on numerous film and television projects.
Main Influences:Charles Mingus, Richard Davis, Cachao, James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt, Aston "Familyman" Barrett, Fully Fullwood, Jack Cassidy, Larry Graham, John Entwistle, John Paul Jones, Ron Carter, Ray Brown, Carl Radle, George Porter Jr., Willie Dixon, Paul Chambers, Eddie Gomez and Chuck Rainey.