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The Smooth Tones of Freddie Hubbard
Here is a prolific jazz trumpeter that formed his style out of the traditions of Lee Morgan and Clifford Brown. Freddie was to be the heir apparent at the passing of Miles, and then Dizzy. That very well could have been the case had he not had a series of commercial shortfalls. It's often the test that the last generation of great musicians had to face. As jazz music called for broader exposure and accessibility there was a rush to make the jazz more commercial.
Freddie made the leap and managed at the same time to keep the tradition of excellence alive. A monster trumpeter, the brilliance of Freddie Hubbard can be heard as far back as the album Backlash. A standard that lit the jazz world up on that LP is a beautiful cut called Little Sunflower. Freddie wanted the listener to feel that they were in the desert just after a rain, and witnessing the splendor of flowers that may bloom only once in a lifetime.
The 1970's were an explosive stretch that ushered in the new fusion jazz from every direction. Freddie Hubbard's LP, First light, was a brilliant synthesis of the old traditions of jazz coupled with the new directions of the time. Check out the players assembled for this gig. Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Ron Carter, Eric Gayle, and Jack DeJohnette filled the roster. Don Sebesky supplied a magnificent string arrangement to compliment the recording. These mentioned musicians were all megaliths in their own right. The company Freddie kept says a lot about the man and his music.
Freddie Hubbard connected with the jazz buying public in a very successful way. This had the effect of bringing in new listeners who hear the new, and then begin to trace the music back to its roots. However, like life itself that extends out until it comes full circle Freddie found solace in returning to the roots that gave him rise out of the ashes of the old school. This journey can be expected from all of the great ones. There will be a period of explosive creativity followed by wider acceptance, and then the graceful cooling down whereby the listening audience becomes privy to the musician's original source of inspiration.
Freddie Hubbard moves through the concourse as graceful as ever. He may have slowed down a bit on the vein-bursting improvisations, but his music continues to inspire and entertain jazz buffs the world over.