It’s September 14th, this year marks 50-years of the start of recording at the Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey of Freddie Hubbard’s Grammy winning album “First Light“. I wrote about it on this date last year[1]On This Day: First Light – Creed Taylor Produced (

This year, I have a video of the title track from the album, along with three other tracks recorded live in France.

On March 25th, 1973 The Freddie Hubbard Quintet performed a long set Studio 104 Maison de l’ORTF in Paris, France.

The set was recorded by the Office national de radiodiffusion télévision française, INA the French National TV Broadcaster. The concert was edited and broadcast as two shows. The first broadcast on August 14th, the second on October 23rd, 1973. The video above, if played on Youtube[2](3) Freddie Hubbard Live from Studio 104 Maison de l’ORTF, Paris, France – March 25th, 1973 – YouTube contains the four tracks from both programs, singled out here is the last, “First Light”.

In the quintet that night were
Trumpet – Freddie Hubbard
Bass – Kent Brinkley
Drums – Michael Carvin
Electric Piano – George Cables
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Junior Cook

Mosaic “Rolling Back The Years”

Back in 2011, Mosaic Records put out a DVD called “Live In France”[3]Freddie Hubbard – Live In France 1973 (2011, DVD) – Discogs, it contained only tracks 1, 2, and 4 from the concert, omitting the track “Here’s That Rainy Day“, a downtempo, more subtle version of Hubbard. While the three tracks show Hubbard at his most majestic, and possibly the best ever CTI Star performance, Rainy Day completes the performance and has all the soul of the original version from Hubbard’s “Straight Life” album, even without George Benson’s guitar.

The DVD is worth acquiring, as well as the three tracks, it has a 12-page booklet with liner notes and memorabilia.

Days And Time

Both dates the TV shows were broadcast in France, Freddie was busy.

According to the San Pedro California News-Pilot, August 13th, 1973 would see Hubbard playing 2-sets, Tuesdays Through Sundays as an extended engagement for Concerts By The Sea at Redondo Beach Pier in California. The first set started at 9:15pm, and women were admitted “free each Wednesday, escorted or not!”.

Coincidentally, on October 23rd 1973, Hubbard was back in the Van Gelder Studio, recording his fourth and final CTI album, “Keep Your Soul Together“. Yes, there was a fifth album, “Polar AC“, the title track of which was recorded at the “First Light” sessions. The track was a version of Cedar Walton’s “Fantasy in D”. Other tracks were also from prior Hubbard recordings. In 1974, he’d moved on, literally, he’d changed labels and moved to the west coast, to Los Angeles.

Hubbard himself said that “[First Light] put me out in front of people as a sellable and made me decide to leave New York.”[4]The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), 28 Sep 1974, Sat. Page 14. By 1975, Hubbard was still recording pop covers for Columbia records, that year he would record “Liquid Love“, Hubbard’s produced album, the first track of which was a cover of Maria Mulduar’s “Midnight At The Oasis”, whiuch had been recorded earlier in 1975 by Hubert Laws for his classic CTI Album “Chicago Theme“.

Hubbard admitted “The Money’s getting better now; I don’t have to work as hard as I do, it is tougher now to write jazz and make money. When I first got started, that was the era when jazz was fun”. [5]The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) – 28 Jun 1975, Sat. – Page 19

Hubbard’s Big Year

1973 was probably Freddie Hubbard’s biggest year, as well as extensive touring, it was the year Hubbard’s was most recognized. While Jazz purists might ague that “Red Clay” was his best CTI album, “First Light” was easily the most popular. In 1973, Freddie Hubbard was

  • Winner Grammy Award for “Best Jazz Performance by a group”[6]Freddie Hubbard | Artist |
  • Grammy Nomination for “Best Jazz Performance By A Soloist”
  • Grammy Nomination, Best Arrangement Lonely Town (Don Sebesky)
  • Downbeat Critic’s Poll for best Trumpet player
  • First Trumpeter, Playboy Jazz and Pop Poll
The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) – 28 Sep 1974, Sat – Page 14


15th Sept 2021, 10:45 Added band lineup for the live performance video
15th Sept 2021, 11am Added Grammy nomination for soloist plus link/reference for

One Reply to “First Light Live”

  1. Mark, thanks for this historical information about Freddie Hubbard. For your listening pleasure, I have 5 broadcast recordings featuring Freddie Hubbard on FM Radio Archive: There are 2 with the CTI All Stars, 1 with Herbie Hancock & VSOP, 1 with MCoy Tyner & The Great Quartet, and 1 with the Freddie Hubbard Quintet. These are from the period between 1973 to 1984.

    Enjoy! Kim Paris – FM Radio Archive

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.