The vibes carry all of the tracks, even as Hutcherson is backed by top-shelf musicians who have established respected careers of their own. Renee Rosnes, for example, respectfully stays in the background on For Sentimental Reasons, as she helps to brighten Hutcherson’s burnished sound. When she does emerge for a solo, the contribution is always in the moment and consistent with the mood that Hutcherson sets up. On "Embraceable You," for instance, Hutcherson plays the last four bars as a solo introduction before Rosnes provides the spare shimmering chords behind him before Rosnes herself comes in with her own addition to the sense of beauty Hutcherson establishes at the largo tempo. While the songs don’t stay far from their melodic bases, they do contain a few surprises, like the hint of a key change in "For Sentimental Reasons," proving that the songs of Hutcherson’s CD do result from some pre-arranged notation before the mid-track improvisations.
Not all of the songs of For Sentimental Reasons proceed at a romantic ballad’s pace. Fat Waller’s "Jitterbug Waltz" does move at medium tempo, infusing the CD with a sense of fun and actually gains some intensity as the momentum gathers throughout the song. "Don’t Blame Me" moves from a relaxed straight-ahead groove, pushed by Dwayne Burno’s walking bass lines. All the while, Hutcherson shapes the character of the songs with his glassy, comforting sound quite a contract from his work on Dialogue, which he shared with forward-thinking musicians like Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers.
The rhythm section drops out of the final piece, "I’ll Be Seeing You," and Hutcherson plays it solo, obtaining full value from each note as he captures the emotion of the song with concision and grace, the vibrato ringing out after the final note has been played. For Sentimental Reasons presents a gentler Bobby Hutcherson who shows little of the fire but much of the fine attention to the sound of his instrument in evidence in many of his past recordings.