December 30, 2008

RUINED BY ROCK:

Jazz musician Freddie Hubbard dies aged 70 (Adam Bell, 12/30/08, guardian.co.uk)

Hubbard played on more than 300 recordings, and collaborated with jazz legends including Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane.

Born in Indianapolis, he moved to New York in 1958, where he met Coltrane at a jam session.

"I met Trane at a jam session at Count Basie's in Harlem in 1958," he said in an interview in 1995.

"He said, 'Why don't you come over and let's try and practice a little bit together.' I almost went crazy. I mean, here is a 20-year-old kid practicing with John Coltrane. He helped me out a lot, and we worked several jobs together."

In 1961 he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, but left in 1964 to lead his own group. .

But it was his recordings of the mid-1960s with Herbie Hancock that placed him among the foremost hard-bop trumpeters.

HardBop.com called his improvisations a combination of "imaginative melody with a glossy tone, rapid and clean technique, a brilliant high register, a subtle vibrato, and bluesy, squeezed half-valve notes."


Freddie Hubbard, jazz trumpeter, dies at 70 (Don Heckman, December 30, 2008, LA Times)
Seemingly the first choice for artists of every stripe, he was present on many of the most significant jazz albums of the '60s, among them Ornette Coleman's "Free Jazz," John Coltrane's "Ascension," Eric Dolphy's "Out To Lunch," Oliver Nelson's "Blues and the Abstract Truth," Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil" and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage."

"Hubbard," wrote Joachim Berendt in "The Jazz Book: From New Orleans to Rock and Free Jazz," "is the most brilliant trumpeter of a generation of musicians who stand with one foot in 'tonal' jazz and with the other in the atonal camp."

Although his playing, especially in the earliest years, reflected the influence of Clifford Brown, Miles Davis and others, he said saxophonists were most influential in his development, often specifically mentioning Coltrane's "sheets of sound" as an important source.

"I always practice with saxophone players," he told Julie Coryell and Laura Friedman in their book, "Jazz-Rock Fusion: The People, the Music." "I find when you get around trumpet players, you get into competitive playing -- who can play the loudest and the highest. After you develop your own style, you don't want to get into that."

Like many players in his generation, Hubbard was drawn to pop and rock interests in the '70s and '80s. In 1977 he toured with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams in the quasi-Miles Davis ensemble V.S.O.P. And he released a series of rock- and pop-oriented albums on the CTI label.

"Red Clay," "First Light" and "Straight Life" received good reviews, and "First Light" was awarded a Grammy in 1972 for best jazz performance by a group. Later CTI albums received generally negative criticism.

In the early '90s, the intensity with which Hubbard had always approached his trumpet caught up with him. After splitting his lip in 1992, he ignored the injury, continuing to play on a European tour. The lip became badly infected, and his physician insisted on a biopsy. No cancer was found, but Hubbard spent the next few years struggling to regain his early ability to articulate his instrument.

His playing over the last decade was uneven, at best.

MORE:
-ARTIST SITE: Freddie Hubbard Music
-ESSAY: THE DOZENS: RANDY BRECKER SELECTS 12 ESSENTIAL FREDDIE HUBBARD TRACKS (Ted Panken, Jazz.com)
Freddie Hubbard Dies (12/29/2008, Down Beat)

Blessed with a sound that combined Clifford Brown's technique, Lee Morgan's bravura and Miles Davis' sensitivity, Hubbard was prominent for much of his career both a leader and a sideman.



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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2008 8:44 AM
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