It’s October 30th, that means that 49-years ago, not far from where I live now, Freddie Hubbard and his quartet of trusty sidemen George Cables, Kent Brinkley, Ralph Penland and Junior Cook, were getting ready to perform at the Ebberts Field. No, not the home of the Dodgers in Brooklyn, but its namesake in Denver. The quartet played for 6-nights from Tuesday October 30th to Sunday November 4th. Exactly one week after recording his fifth CTI studio album “Keep Your Soul Together” at Van Gelder’s studio in New Jersey. Also at the end are audio streams of a 1986 Freddie Hubbard concert in Denver.
You can download a copy of the mp3 audio file by clicking on the three-dots in the audio player and selecting download.
The hard-bop style “Spirits of Trane” and “Uncle Albert” included here will be familiar to Hubbard collectors, both tracks were included on here should be familiar to the 2017 Hi Hat CD “Freddie Hubbard – The CTI Years 1970-1973″https://www.discogs.com/release/11924181-Freddie-Hubbard-The-CTI-Years-1970-1973. The tracks here are in the original order with “Uncle Albert / Intro”, “Spirits Of Trane”, “In A Mist” and “Sky Dive / Outro”. “In A Mist” is misidentified and is in fact “Here’s That Rainy Day,” thanks to Arnaldo DeSouitereio for this.
During the band intro, Hubbard says “It’s a pleasure to be back here, I was here in the summer with that um, so called Newport Jazz Festival(crowd applauds and cheers). Any way we are glad to be back as this time we get to play a little bit(crowd applauds and cheers) because we were like the warm-up act for Stevie and the guys”. Hubbard is referring to the George Wein’s first Rocky Mountain Jazz Festival held July 20 and 21 at Denver’s Mile High Stadium. Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Freddie Hubbard Quintet, Charles Mingus featuring Cat Anderson, Ray Charles and his Orchestra, the Staple Singers, B. B. King, Herbie Mann and Rahsaan Roland Kirk with the Preservation Hall Band appeared on the two dates.
There is some digital “clipping” in the first 3-minutes of Uncle Albert, especially Cable’s Fender Rhodes, after that it’s pretty good recording. I suspect that was as much to do with the levels in the analog recording as it was in the live levels in Ebberts. There is a short drop-out on the right channel at the end of “Rainy Day” and the start “Sky Dive”. I fixed the intro to “Sky Dive” by just switching the intro to mono and then back to stereo as the musicians start to play. I also removed some electrical hum/feedback in a couple of quite sections.
The performance was one of many to be broadcast on KCUV-FM which had CD releases of “Live From Ebbets Field” performances in cooperation with Chuck Morris and ListenUp, with proceeds going to the Morgan Adams Foundation. It’s from these broadcasts this recording came from. The recording was also carried by Denver/Boulder/Colorado Springs stations KDPI and KFML.
Hubbard would be back at Ebbets Field in 1976, from October 20-23, and April 7-10, 1977QueenCityJamz: Search results for hubbard. On July 15th 1977, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, and Tony Williams would be at nearby Red Rocks ampitheater as part of the VSOP tourSee below for an Audio version of Red Clay. Other appearances would follow, especially at CU Boulder. While I researched this, I was amazed to learn that there was a BLUE NOTE Club in Boulder, Colorado in the late 1970’s, and Freddie Hubbard appeared there in March 1978. We don’t have anything approaching these jazz venues today, only Dazzle in Denver.
Ebbets Field – Denver
The Denver nightclub was opened on Tuesday February 13th, 1973 at 1020 15th street in Denver, Colorado, by Chuck MorrisEbbets Field | Profile | Colorado Music Experience (colomusic.org). Morris was born just four blocks from the historic Brooklyn NY ballpark. He came to Colorado to do post graduate work on his masters in political science at CU Boulder. Among other gigs, Morris was a music critic for a daily newspaper and after a few attempts at bars, became a de facto Denver/Boulder Colorado music promoter and friend of Chuck E. Weiss Chuck E. Weiss – Wikipedia.
Yes, the same Weis that is the subject of Rickie Lee Jones’s hit song “Chuck E.’s In Love”, from her 1979 debut album. In the early 70’s Chuck Weiss was the drummer in the house band at Ebbets Field but went on to become a staple on the Los Angeles music and arts scene. Weiss was also a DJ on one of the Colorado’s original “free form”Free-form radio – Wikipedia radio stations KFML and along with KDPI, and Boulder based KRNW. Another old school friend of Morris was Eddie Simon, Paul Simons younger brother.
The location of Ebberts Field(Denver) was formerly called “Marv’s Marvelous”, a middle-of-the-road (MOR) club. Morris redesigned the space as Denver’s first Concert Bar. It had tiered bleachers to mirror the Brooklyn sports stadium, which also gave the room its depth. It cost $4 to get in and there was no drink-minimum. Under-age customers had their hand stamped and were allowed to sit anywhere. Capacity was 250. Funding to open the club came from Cynthia Fey, wife of Barry Fey, a national rock music promoter based out of Denver. Fey is the legendary promoter from the 1970’s that put Red Rocks on the map. Fey is a legend around these partshttps://303magazine.com/2016/10/red-rocks-famous-barry-fey/INTERESTING BITS: 11 Facts About Barry Fey – The Man Who Made Red Rocks Famous – COMBO – The Colorado Music Business Organization and Rocky Mountain PBS made a documentary about him that is well worth watchinghttps://youtu.be/7Gm3vkS0xe8.
The Ebbets Field performances were recorded and broadcast courtesy of then Denver audio startup ListenUpHistories – ListenUp provided the sound equipment for the recordings. ListenUp still exists today and is thriving, I bought an updated Technics turntable from ListenUp in Boulder and have been to their epic annual warehouse sales a couple of times.
By the time Hubbard appeared at Ebberts Field(Denver), Herbie Hancock, Les McCann, Cannonball Adderley, Roland Kirk, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and for the three nights, October 26-28 before the Hubbard Quartet appeared, it was Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show.
As of writing, 2022, Morris had been inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of FameChuck Morris Inductee in Colorado | Colorado Music Hall of Fame (cmhof.org), as is still active, including running a benefit for victims of the #MarshallFire in my hometown.
In the “Straight Creek Journal” February 10, 1972, Martin Fritter wrote a review of Cannonball Adderley at Marvelous Marv’shttps://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org/. He ended his review with “My compliments to Marvelous Marv’s for providing a chance to hear fine jazz and I can only hope that there’ll be more to come. I know about Miles Davis, but how about a chance to hear Freddie Hubbard or Pharoah Sanders?”.
Dreams do come true!
Hubbard In Denver 1986
As a bonus, Freddie Hubbard at the historic Oxford HotelOxford Hotel (Denver, Colorado) – Wikipedia on December 3rd, 1986. It was recorded by John Dawson on a Sony Walkman D-6 Cassette with Sony ECM-929LT mic. Not sound desk or radio broadcast quality but still an interesting insight into where Hubbard was. It was recorded just a month before Hubbard would go into the studio to record his Cuscana produced album “Life Flight”Life Flight (album) – Wikipediahttps://www.discogs.com/master/508240-Freddie-Hubbard-Life-Flight. Widely regarded as Hubbard’s last good studio album.
Live At The Village Vanguard, VSOP In Japan
As a bonus, here is Freddie Hubbard playing with VSOP in Japan this is one track from six from “Live In Japan 1977”. You can download the whole set here.
One last bonus-bonus video, don’t forget Freddie Hubbard, “Live at the Village Vanguard”Live at the Village Vanguard – Creed Taylor Produced (ctproduced.com).
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Updates: 11/1/2022 Minor updates, corrections.
12/2/2022 Added links to details and references about Barry Fey and Chuck Morris.