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December 29, 2008

Freddie Hubbard is Gone

Hard-bop trumpeter Freddie Hubbard died earlier today, one month after suffering a heart attack. Like my favorite guitarist, Wes Montgomery, Freddie was born and raised in Indianapolis. He even played with the Montgomery Brothers while still in his teens. But it was his stint with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers that led to his meteoric rise as a major player, perhaps second only to Miles Davis in his fame and influence as a trumpeter of that particular generation. Listen to this YouTube of him playing with Blakey's Jazz Messengers on Bobby Timmons' tune, "Moanin' " from 1962. The third and fourth choruses of Freddie's solo are pure gospel.

Freddie had a real gift for saying something in his solos. He could suddenly bombard you with a barrage of notes, he could repeat the same four notes for eight bars, or just hang on one note for 30 seconds. His technique was fabulous. All at once, he had a clean and rounded sound, a great sense of rhythm and phrasing, and he never lost sight of the melody (the "head").

He became quite famous for his career as a solo artist in the 70's and 80's (his tune "Red Clay" is included in almost every version of the Real Book) but some of my favorite recordings find him strutting his stuff as the consummate sideman, on albums like Oliver Nelson's "Blues and the Abstract Truth" from 1961, where his impeccable ear and nimble fingers are showcased on tunes such as "Hoe-down" and "Yearnin' ". And, for those who know the album well, Freddie's solo is the first one we hear on "Stolen Moments", the classic opening cut from the album.

RIP Freddie Hubbard. The masters are leaving us all to soon.

Posted by shoephone on December 29, 2008 at 09:35 PM in Music | Permalink


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