After reading about Les McCann’s passing, Kim Paris from the FM Radio Archive Collection uploaded a fascinating live set from 1974 that includes both Freddie Hubbard and Les McCann. Kim emailed to let me know.
At the time, Hubbard had left CTI and had just released his first album for CBS/Columbia “High Energy”. So, it was fascinating to hear where Freddie’s live performances were.
You can play or download the two parts of the WBGO broadcast here. Alternatively, you can visit the broadcast webpage on archive.org https://archive.org/details/apollo-theater-nyc-1974-hubbard-mccann-wbgo Press play and read on.
Black Music ’75
The Apollo’s Black Music ’75 was an ambitious attempt by promoter John Levy to present jazz greats such as Les McCann, Cannonball Adderley, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Nat Adderley, bluesman Johnny Guitar Watson, and singers Joe Williams and Randy Crawford to the Harlem audience. The show ran from October 18th through October 24th, with the same artists each night. The show opened with everyone on stage in one huge jam band at the start and reunited at the end. In the middle, each formation would play a short set. Tickets were $4.00 and $5.00.
Writing for the New York Times on October 20th, 1974 – Ian Dove wasn’t impressed describing it as “is an interesting experiment that does not quite come off”. Given Dove’s report was in the Oct. 20th edition, he saw the event from a different night from the recordings here. Dove’s review would also appear in Billboard Nov 30th, 1974.
Hubbard set from Oct. 22nd, presented here from the WBGO broadcast and archived by Kim Paris of the FM Radio Archive, opens with a 12-minute version of the Stevie Wonder track “Too High” from Hubbard’s new album – It sees Hubbard at perhaps his most bombastic. The second and final Hubbard track is “Crisis”, also from the “High Energy” album. It’s not clear if WBGO cut anything to fit the session into a 30-minute radio slot, but from reporting at the time, it’s likely these were Hubbard’s only numbers. WBGO, as Paris notes on archive.org the show was carried by WBGO 88.3 FM (“Jazz 88“) from Newark, NJ. WBGO is a long-time Jazz station and still active today Link to WBGO remembering Les McCann, published Jan 1st, 2024 – includes interview https://www.wbgo.org/music/2024-01-01/les-mccann-innovative-soul-jazz-pianist-and-composer-dies-at-the-age-of-88.
Les McCann makes his appearance in the second part of the set broadcast by WBGO. McCann and sidemen perform a couple of numbers and then call on the rest of the musicians for the finale jam set performing “Compared To What”.
|Link to WBGO remembering Les McCann, published Jan 1st, 2024 – includes interview https://www.wbgo.org/music/2024-01-01/les-mccann-innovative-soul-jazz-pianist-and-composer-dies-at-the-age-of-88