Freddie Hubbard’s Spirit Lives On


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.


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. 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.