Freddie Hubbard’s Spirit Lives On

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Freddie Hubbard, one of the great jazz trumpeters of the last 50 years, died Monday night of complications from a recent heart attack. He was 70.

Hubbard made his recording debut on Blue Note with the dazzling Open Sesame, and followed with a string of successful albums for the label open-sesameincluding Hub-Tones and Ready for Freddie. However, he is probably best known for his work on some of the greatest jazz albums of all time, including Ornette Coleman’s 1960 genre defining work, Free Jazz, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messenger’s 1961 recording, Mosiac, Eric Dolphy’s 1964 classic, Out to Lunch, Wayne Shorter’s 1964 Speak No Evil and Herbie Hancock’s seminal 1965 recording, Maiden Voyage.  All of these LPs are essential works for any serious jazz listener and capture the essence of Hubbard’s virtuosic talents.

maiden-voyageeric-dolphy

Hubbard was known for blowing hard and apparently this led to a lip injury in 1992 and to a subsequent infection from which he never completely recovered, writes jazz critic Peter Keepnews in a tribute to Hubbard’s career in today’s New York Times. Shout.net has a compelling article up of an interview with Hubbard by Fred Shuster of Downbeat magazine in 1995 – “When Your Chops Are Shot” – in which Freddie discusses the injury and reminisces on his career. Downbeat posted a brief retrospective on Hubbard’s artistry.  Free lance jazz writer Dan Heckman provides a comprehensive summary of Hubbard’s major achievements in today’s LA Times.  And Doug Ramsey of Rifftides posted a heartfelt tribute along with a video of Hubbard playing with Art Blakey.

I will miss Freddie Hubbard. It’s hard to believe he’s no longer with us, but his spirit will remain in the hundreds of recordings he left behind for jazz lovers everywhere to enjoy. Thank you Freddie, God Bless and RIP.

2 Responses

  1. Nice blog… I love Freddie Hubbard.. As a jazz trumpet wantabee I have worshiped at the alter of Freddie Hubbard for 32 years. It was like losing a family member..
    I was lucky enough to catch him “live” 5 times in my life.. That last time was in the late 80’s early 90’s in Tulsa Oklahoma of all places. I was a Domino’s Pizza franchisee in the area at the time so I called and asked if I could provide Freddie and his group pizza. They said “sure, Freddie wants a pepperoni and green pepper”. It ended up being one of the most incredible nights of my life. I got to meet Freddie, hang out back stage in his dressing room with him, talk trumpet, Lee Morgan and jazz. Then watched the 2nd show back stage. Was awesome..
    Freddie will live forever. No one will play like that cat did. God Bless Freddie Hubbard..

  2. Thanks for stopping by. Great story. You really are fortunate to have seen him play five times and to have met him. I never saw him live – the only big time trumpet player I ever saw play was Maynard Ferguson at a high school gymnasium in a little Arkansas town not far from the Oklahoma border. I am lucky enough to have seen Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock in concert (not all together) but regret never seeing Freddie play live. However, I’ve heard his records so many times, he’s like part of my family too. He will definitely be missed. Fortunately, his music will live on.

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