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Old Sep 25, 2010, 02:06 PM
Gavin Walker Gavin Walker is offline
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Jazz Feature for Sept.27: Freddie Hubbard:"Goin' Up".

Freddie Hubbard's career was like a fiery comet that circled the earth for over thirty years. He seemed to come out of nowhere and soon his sound was everywhere and and his abilities were on everyone's lips. He was on countless iimportant recordings ranging from straight post bop with Art Blakey to the outer fringes of the avant-guard with Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy (Free Jazz and Ascension and Out to Lunch)! Freddie could do everything and always delivered his best with his rich sound blazing technique......he was truly one of a kind and with his passing at 70 due to heart complications we lost one of the most important voices of the trumpet. Freddie Hubbard is still sorely missed on the Jazz horizon and his shoes will probably never be filled.

Hubbard was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 7, 1938 and died at his home in Sherman Oaks, California on December 29,2008. Freddie studied French horn and trumpet and took lessons from a symphony player but mostly taught himself through books, hard practice and eventually sitting-in with locals in his home town like the Montgomery brothers (Buddy, Monk and Wes). His first recorded appearance was with them in late 1958 and the music was originally issued on Pacific Jazz. Freddie headed for New York and never looked back. He worked and recorded with Cannonball Adderley (under Paul Chambers' name), worked with Sonny Rollins and appeared on Eric Dolphy's first album called "Outward Bound". At that time (1960) Eric and Freddie were roomates. Alfred Lion heard Freddie at one of Birdland's famous Monday night jams and signed him to Blue Note on the spot. Freddie recorded his first album with the great unheralded tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, and a young McCoy Tyner. The recording is now a classic and was called "Open Sesame". Freddie was now the hottest new property in New York and turning heads everywhere. His sound (what a sound! Pretty and fiery at the same time) his technical facility and his concept would begin to affect hundreds of young trumpet players. Freddie was working with J.J. Johnson's fine sextet and would soon replace Lee Morgan in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1961. Freddie's career blossomed and in 1964 when he first organized his own group and continued to thrive. The 1970's were no different with records like "Red Clay", "First Light" etc. done for CTI. A little detour with Columbia in the mid-70's produced some sad sounding fusion albums and despite Freddie's arguments trying to justify these albums (Freddie's ego was always there) he returned to real Jazz playing in 1977 with VSOP with Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter. He burned through the 80's and recorded some stellar albums like "Double Take" with Woody Shaw and had some fine bands. He was always worth seeing. In 1992 disaster struck in the form of the decaying of his lip muscles, essential to trumpet playing. Surgery was attempted to restore those muscles but infection set in and Hubbard had to stop playing. Despite his early classical training, Hubbard had taught himself and unlike most trumpeters never warmed up before playing. This procedure is manditory as trumpet is a very physical instrument and the muscles that control the tone and pitch must be warmed up and flexed before performing. Freddie never did this and felt he didn't have to but eventually these important muscles gave way. This also happened to Louis Armstrong during his career but he was able to recover 80% of his "chops". Hubbard did recover a little of his former power and made a few albums but he had already made his place in Jazz history. His last years were spent doing a little performing, lecturing and recording but he also began to suffer some serious health problems not unrelated to earlier indulgences. Freddie's great sprit lives today and takes us finally to The Jazz Feature.

The Feature is Freddie's sophomore album for Blue Note called appropriately enough, "Goin' Up". It's an often overlooked gem and was at one time my friend Don Thompson's favourite recording! Freddie has once again a young McCoy Tyner on piano, who was on Hubbard;s first recording, "Open Sesame" but he now surrounds himself with seasoned veterans who push Freddie to new heights. Hank Mobley (at his peak) is on tenor and the unbeatable rhythm section of Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums) swing you into bad health. Kenny Dorham was commissioned by Freddie to contribute two compositions and arrangements to the date and we'll hear Kenny's "Asiatic Raes" aka "Lotus Blossom" and "Karioka". Hank contributes two tunes as well and one blues by Freddie plus a ballad feature called "I Wished I Knew", written by a friend of Freddie's. All in all a solid album representing the best of new York Jazz in 1960 that is still musically relevant today. "Goin' Up" says it all!

The Freddie Hubbard Jazz Feature will be heard at the usual time, shortly after 11pm. I will also in an earlier segment be chatting with and playing some songs by vocalist Larra Skye who is appearing at the Cellar on Thursday, September 30. Join me at 9pm for the complete show and some of the usual surprises. See you then......................
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Old Sep 25, 2010, 02:43 PM
Gavin Walker Gavin Walker is offline
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I have to add this: while I was witing the above I had Freddie's Goin' Up on my player but there were times I had to stop writing because of Philly Joe Jones!!!!! His playing here is why he's still my favourite drummer.
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