Nothing to say…
Still recovering from some type of GI thing. With luck, I’ll have something thoughtful and intelligent to say tomorrow, what with Israel invading Gaza, the economy still in the tank, oil prices increasing…
Finally, the jazz great Freddie Hubbard has died.
Hubbard started playing the mellophone and trumpet in his school band, studying at the Jordan Conservatory with the principal trumpeter of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In his teens Hubbard worked locally with brothers Wes and Monk Montgomery and worked with bassist Larry Ridley and saxophonist James Spaulding. In 1958, at the age of 20, he moved to New York , and began playing with some of the best jazz players of the day, including Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton, Eric Dolphy , J. J. Johnson, and Quincy Jones. In June 1960 Hubbard made his first record as a leader, Open Sesame, with saxophonist Tina Brooks, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Clifford Jarvis. Hubbard recorded his second album, Goin’ Up, with saxophonist Hank Mobley and a rhythm section consisting of Tyner, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. His third album, Hub Cap, featured trombonist Julian Priester and saxophonist Jimmy Heath. Then in May 1961, Hubbard played on Ole Coltrane, John Coltrane’s final recording session with Atlantic Records. Together with Eric Dolphy, Hubbard was the only “session” musician who appeared on both Ole and Africa Brass, Coltrane’s first album with ABC/Impulse! Later, in August 1961, Hubbard made one of his most famous records, Ready for Freddie, which was also his first collaboration with saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Hubbard would join Shorter later in 1961 when he replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey‘s Jazz Messengers. He appears on several Blakey recordings, including Caravan, Ugetsu, Mosaic, and Free For All. Hubbard remained with Blakey until 1966, leaving to form the first of several small groups of his own, which featured, among others, pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Louis Hayes.
It was during this time that he began to develop his own sound, distancing himself from the early influences of Clifford Brown and Morgan, and won the Downbeat jazz magazine “New Star” award on trumpet.
Throughout the 1960s Hubbard played as a sideman on some of the most important albums from that era, including, Oliver Nelson‘s The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Herbie Hancock‘s Maiden Voyage, and Wayne Shorter‘s Speak No Evil. He recorded extensively for Blue Note Records in the late 1950s and 1960s: eight albums as a bandleader, and twenty-eight as a sideman. Though Hubbard never fully embraced the free jazz of the ’60s, he appeared on several landmark albums in the genre: Ornette Coleman‘s Free Jazz, Eric Dolphy‘s Out to Lunch, and John Coltrane‘s Ascension.
Hubbard achieved his greatest popular success in the 1970s with a series of albums for Creed Taylor and his record label CTI Records. Although his early 1970s jazz albums Red Clay, First Light, Straight Life, and Sky Dive were particularly well received and considered among his best work, the albums he recorded later in the decade were bashed by critics for their commercialism. First Light won a 1972 Grammy Award and included pianists Herbie Hancock and Richard Wyands, guitarists Eric Gale and George Benson, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and percussionist Airto Moreira. In 1994, Freddie, collaborating with Chicago jazz vocalist/co-writer Catherine Whitney, had lyrics set to the music of First Light.