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April 7th, 1938 marks the day Freddie was born. Sadly, Freddie Hubbard passed on December 29th, 2008 aged 70. This post is my way of celebrating his time with us.

Freddie burst onto the music scene in the late 1950’s and working with, and featured on the 1958 album by The Montgomery Brothers called And 5 Others. He moved to New York in 1958, and by 1960, he recorded his first album as a leader, Open Sesame on Blue Note. The album featured Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Sam Jones, Clifford Jarvis and Tina Brooks. In 2002, Rudy Van Gelder remastered Open Sesame and if you have not heard it, it’s a must. [Scroll down for a link where you can hear the whole album.]

Hubbard performed and recorded on John Coltrane’s final record for Atlantic; and then, later in 1961, Coltrane’s first album on Impulse! Africa / Brass – and the first time he’d been produced by Creed Taylor.

Hubbard also performed with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers; and on many of the most influential jazz albums of the 1960s including Oliver Nelson’s The Blues and the Abstract Truth; Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage; and Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil as well as many others.

As discussed in OTD: Red Clay , by the time Hubbard signed for CTI, and showed up 50-years ago, on January 27th, 1970 he was ready to start recording what was, arguably, some of his best work with Red Clay. Later in his career, Hubbard signed with Columbia and recorded and toured with VSOP: a Miles Davis reunion combo featuring Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams. He also collaborated with vocalists Chaka Khan and Elton John, and recorded Double Take with trumpeter Woody Shaw.

Freddie died in 2008 of complications following a heart attack. Despite all his success in the recording industry, and performing live, Freddie needed help from The Jazz Foundation to pay the mortgage on his home, while he was unable to work.

MY Hubbard CTI Albums, including a near mint, first press, green label copy of Red Clay

The Fourfer

To celebrate, I’ve put together this fourfer of tracks recorded while Freddy was with CTI. The tracks are not meant to be a top-4 or his best, how could anything that doesn’t include the title track from Red Clay?

But I thought of a few great tracks that wouldn’t be on everyone’s list.

  1. Intrepid Fox – From the Red Clay album, but this version is a little known live version, performed at The Jazz Workshop, Boston on September 26th, 1972 and broadcast on WBCN-FM. The audio isn’t perfect but it’s certainly good enough to be included here, and is an amazing live performance, not otherwise available in the Freddie Hubbard pantheon. The other performers include Junior Cook on Tenor Sax and Flute, George Cables on electric Piano, Mickey Bass on bass, and a deft, now 22-year old drummer, who had performed on the Red Clay album, Lenny White with an incredible drum solo. Brilliant, just brilliant.
  2. Spirits of Trane – From the CTI Album, Keep Your Soul Together – By 1973, Hubbard was really on a roll. While this album may not be another Red Clay, it very nearly is. Hubbard plays both trumpet and Flugelhorn. Apart from Ron Carter, the album featured, unusually, almost none of the other roster of CTI All-stars. CTI 6036
  3. Stolen Moments – Oliver Nelson’s classic 1965 album The Blues And The Abstract Truth. Produced by Creed Taylor for Impulse! AS-5
  4. First Light – The title track from Hubbards, 1971, CTI album. This album is a classic from the CTI All-stars of 1971. It features not just Hubbard, but also Benson, Laws, Carter, and Airto on percussion. It was also orchestrated and arranged by Don Sebesky. CTI 6013.

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