Audeze speaks with drummer Gregory Hutchinson

April 01, 2023

Gregory Hutchinson is the "drummer of his generation" as it was described by Gary Giddins in Jazz Times magazine, but even better he embodies what it means to be a chameleon: he does everything from jazz to hip-hop to pop and beyond.

Gregory Hutchinson in the studio with his Audeze LCD-XC headphones
"The LCD-XCs have made my job easier because it gives me the truest sound and allows me to hear the full range of my music."  - Gregory Hutchinson
Here's our chat with Gregory:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Yes, as I have recorded on more than 200 albums, let's start with the Grammy winners: Joe Henderson - Lush Life; Dianne Reeves - The Calling; Dianne Reeves - A Little Moonlight; Betty Carter - Dropping Things

Now as far as playing, I have as I said played with everyone from Common, to Harry Connick Jr, Ledisi, Ray Brown, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride. 

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

I would define my role as one of support but also one of bringing a certain sound and fire that I mastered and that has been copied by my younger generation of drummers, and I'm happy to be that voice.

Now I have embarked on my own project as I signed a major label deal with Warner Bros so my first album will be out soon.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

Yes, growing up in NYC I had many heroes, but my mom and dad were the ones who pushed me as my dad played drums. Also getting to be mentored by the likes of Art Blakey, Art Taylor, Ben Riley and Tony and Elvin it was easy. Also having been taught by Marvin Smitty Smith and Kenny Washington was great, I was getting my butt kicked every week in my lessons.

Getting to play with and speak to Sting and Prince, those were great moments also. But I think my interaction with the great Roy Hargrove changed my life because we were both young and we were able to shape this music we call jazz at a young age. 

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

Every time I play is a moment of frustration because I demand the best out of myself, but I also like the fact that in the moment, if you stop pushing, then you die as a musician. So I'm critical but not so critical that I can't enjoy it. To be honest, practice and patience will allow you to overcome all that haunts you.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

I have been using Roland's triggers and Sp404 mk2. Also I work with Abelton and Logic but I'm into live drums and chopping so I have all the old MPCs, along with my Pearl drums we get it done.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

You have to be devoted to being the best you can be, don’t worry about anyone else, this path is yours to take and yours alone. Practice and stay humble.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

Been using headphones since I was 13 years old in recording sessions in my home studio and have had the pleasure of being so comfortable using them either live or when in a session.

I have used open back and closed back headphones and I try to get a great balance of hearing a normal sound as close to neutral as possible.

Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?

I was made aware of your headphones by some incredible people Kurt Rosenwinkel and Eric Revis (we play in Kurt's band together), then I called an old friend of recording Al Schmidt. Everyone speaks highly of your product...

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

Well, the LCD-XCs have made my job easier because it gives me the truest sound and allows me to hear the full range of my music. Many times, cans have one aspect that’s good but not another - these headphones have no weakness.

And yes, I do take them with me because I need to grind 24/7. So now my drums bang all the time. I truly am in heaven so let's see what happens next.

 Gregory Hutchinson's Audeze LCD-XC headphones