When he first heard the Wilson Pickett Band on stage in a small New England town when he was 12, James Hutchinson knew exactly what he wanted to do in life!
A versatile multi-instrumentalist who doubles on upright, and extended range, Hutch plies his craft with an extensive array of tones and techniques to serve the singer and their songs – which is why he is among the elite session players of his generation.
Hutch was hatched in Lynn, Massachusetts, and as a young lad, he soaked up the sounds of the 60s folk boom in Cambridge and Sommerville. He honed his craft working in jam bands throughout the Bay Area, and Latin ensembles San Francisco’s Mission District wherein local legends Micky Hart (Grateful Dead) and John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service) took him under their respective wings. Cipollina tabbed John for his Copperhead debut slab and ensemble in 1970.
Spending significant time in Central America recording and doing live dates, Hutch landed in Austin with the fusion collective The Point – where they garnered the Top Jazz Group honors at the inaugural Austin Music Awards in 1977. There he met the Neville Brothers, who brought him to New Orleans wherein Hutch anchored the Nevilles along with such local acts as The Lastie Brothers, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Jesse Hill, Huey Smith, and The Wild Tchoupitoulas, among others. Hutchinson met Bonnie when the Neville Brothers opened for the Stones on their ‘82 tour, and the rest as they say, is Hutch history….
A first call session cat / sideman with Bonnie Raitt – he’s anchored her touring ensemble since 1983 or thereabouts. Hutch’s credits on stage and on record include the aforementioned Neville Brothers and their ‘Nawlins neighbors along with Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Nicks, CSN&Y, Al Green, Alejandro Escovedo, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, BB King, Merle Haggard, Eric Burdon, and Boz Scaggs, to cite a very, very, very few.
Among Hutch’s extensive bass collection is his beloved Signature Kala Electric U Bass.