Bonnie Raitt bassist and session all-star talks about what drew him to Kala’s U-Basses, playing Fenway Park and more
By David Sands
Musically speaking, James “Hutch” Hutchinson is one of those folks who’s been just about everywhere. While he’s best known for his many years with Bonnie Raitt, providing the basslines to beloved records like 1990’s Grammy-winning Nick of Time and 2012’s Slipstream, his well-deserved reputation as a session bassist has taken him far and wide. He’s worked with B.B. King, Linda Ronstadt, The Doobie Brothers, Etta James, Brian Wilson, Vince Gill, Ziggy Marley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Alejandro Escovedo, and The Chieftains, and the list goes on and on.
Hutch grew up in the Boston area, soaking up the multicultural sounds that could be found in Harvard Square in the ’50s and ’60s and auditing classes at the Berklee College of Music in his teens. After graduating high school, he moved to San Francisco
where he began playing in jazz and Latin bands. Hutch soon met
Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service, who took him under his wing, and he found himself playing sessions at Hart’s ranch recording studio, getting work with Link Wray’s band and joining Cipollina’s group Copperhead. Later he co-founded the latin jazz fusion group The Point, which won a local music award in Austin, Texas, and followed that by moving to New Orleans to play with the Neville Brothers Band.
Hutchinson has been playing with Bonnie Raitt since 1983 and continues to turn heads as a session bassist. FBPO’s Jon Liebman recently caught up with Him in Boston, Massachusetts for a lively conversation that covered Bonnie’s joint tour with James Taylor, U-basses and the crossover between music and sports.
Watch our video with Hutch!
James “Hutch” Hutchinson – Bridging Musical Worlds
The Story Behind The Kala U-Bass
Kala revamps California U-Bass Series