Todays song ‘Gypsy Blue’ can be found on Freddie’s debut (as a leader) album ‘Open Sesame’, recorded at Van Gelder’s studio on June 19th, 1960. The recordings were done in one (1) day, mind you. Which was common practice these days, but still…
The real star of ‘Gypsy Blue’ is Tina Brooks, who also wrote the song. Freddie Hubbard said about him: “…Ike Quebec introduced me to Tina at the 845 Club. Ike also introduced me to Alfred Lion. I loved Tina. He had a nice feeling. I got into him before I got into Hank (Mobley). He would write shit out on the spot and it would be beautiful. He wrote Gypsy Blue for me on the first record and I loved it. I just loved it. Tina made my first record date wonderful. He wrote and played beautifully. What a soulful, inspiring cat. I loved him…”
Alas, Brooks did not record after 1961. Plagued by heroin dependency and a gradually deteriorating health, he died of liver failure aged just 42, in 1974.
Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet Tina Brooks - Tenor Saxophone McCoy Tyner - Piano Sam Jones - Bass Clifford Jarvis - Drums
Things were happening big time for Shorter in early 1965, when ’The Soothsayer’ was recorded. After five years with drummer and band leader Art Blakey as musician, composer and, finally, musical director, the saxophonist had recently joined trumpeter Miles Davis’ second great quintet. With Davis, Shorter would record six studio albums over the next three years (the first, E.S.P., 1965, was recorded two months before ’The Soothsayer’) plus a further four under his own name.
’The Soothsayer’ was initially shelved to make way for the release of the more adventurous ‘The All Seeing Eye’, and when Shorter left Davis and joined Weather Report, this beautiful album, temporarily, was overtaken by events. It was finally released in 1979, which is hard to believe because it ranks with the best of his works from this incredibly fertile period.
His unique sense of melody in the modal style of the 60’s is very evident in today’s song ‘Lost’, featuring expressive solo interludes that glide over a gorgeous floating waltz.
Wayne Shorter - Tenor Saxophone James Spaulding - Alto Saxophone Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet McCoy Tyner - Piano Ron Carter - Bass Tony Williams - Drums
Columbus Calvin Pearson Jr. (1932-1980, nicknamed Duke after his idol Ellington) moved to New York in 1959, after performing with different ensembles in Georgia and Florida.There, he joined Donald Byrd’s band and the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Sextet, and served as Nancy Wilson’s accompanist. In 1963, he succeeded Ike Quebec as A&R director of Blue Note Records, a post he held until 1971, and played a big part in shaping the Blue Note label’s direction in the 1960’s as a producer. Later on, he guided the label as it moved from the hard-bop into the warmer ‘post-Miles’, post-bop sound of Herbie Hancock, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson and McCoy Tyner. Pearson continued to accompany vocalists in the 1970’s (such as Carmen McRae), but he spent a good deal of the latter half of the decade fighting the ravages of multiple sclerosis, from which he died in 1980, aged only 47.
On today’s 1967 album ‘Sweet Honey Bee’ (dedicated to his wife Betty, which appears with him on the cover), Pearson leads an all-star group through seven of his own compositions. The frameworks are quite intelligent (and everyone doesn’t solo on each selection), and the improvisations are concise and clearly related to each tune’s melody and mood.
Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet Joe Henderson - Tenor Saxophone James Spaulding - Alto Saxophone, Flute Duke Pearson - Piano Ron Carter - Bass Mikey Roker - Drums
It’s hard to begin to sum up all the key records in jazz Frederick Dewayne Hubbard (1938-2008) appeared on, but here’s a try. Partnered with Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller, he featured on seven of Art Blakey’s classic early sixties Blue Note albums, he played with George Coleman on Herbie Hancock’s highly influential album ‘Maiden Voyage’, then played on Oliver Nelson’s ‘Blues And The Abstract Truth’. He played a central role on Wayne Shorter’s ‘Speak No Evil’ and was at the centre of John Coltrane’s albums ‘Olé Coltrane’, ‘The Africa/Brass Sessions’ and ‘Ascension’. He was a key player on Eric Dolphy’s radical ‘Out To Lunch’ and appeared on Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking ‘Free Jazz’.
The list could go on and on.
I wrote a post earlier on about one of my favorite albums of all time, ‘Olé Coltrane’, and I guess that those sessions in May 1961 were very inspiring, because he used the same rhythm section on this album, ‘Ready For Freddie’, recorded on August 21st that year. Freddie says in the liner notes: “So far as I can put it into words…the way in which I’m most interested in going is Coltrane-like. I mean different ways of playing the changes so that you get a wider play of colors and of the emotions that those colors reveal.”
Freddie Hubbard related today’s track ‘Crisis’ to the growing threat of a nuclear war, which came to a climax in the Cuban Missiles Crisis just over a year later (between October 14th and 28th, 1962). Many feared that the world was on the brink of a nuclear conflict and Hubbard’s musical response expressed the wish that such catastrophes could be averted, by hope and reconciliation.
Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet Wayne Shorter - Tenor Saxophone Bernard McKinney - Euphonium (Tenor Tuba) Art Davis - Bass McCoy Tyner - Piano Elvin Jones - Drums
Possibly the greatest vibraphonist of the free-jazz generation, Los Angeles-born Bobby Hutcherson (1941), who relocated to New York in 1961, played on Jackie McLean’s ‘One Step Beyond‘ (1963) and ‘Destination Out‘ (1963), as well as on Eric Dolphy’s ‘Conversations‘ (1963) and ‘Out to Lunch‘ (1964), before making this fantastic album ‘Dialogue‘ (april 1965), the album that set the pace for the rest of his creative career. For his first album as a leader, Hutcherson gathered a sextet to play music that straddled the border between hard-bop and free-jazz.
The title ‘Dialogue’ perfectly describes the approach this group takes. They continually interact and feed off each other with amazing results. In the great tradition of ensemble jazz, individual talents are allowed to shine but only within the framework of the greater whole. Hutcherson is only the de facto leader, as Andrew Hill and Joe Chambers composed the themes and Hill did the arrangements that provide the take-off point for the group.
Originally issued on the album ‘Spiral’ and now a bonus track on ‘Dialogue’, ‘Jasper’ is more of a straight ahead blues that includes some tremendous soloing by both Rivers and Hubbard.
Bobby Hutcherson - Vibraphone Sam Rivers - Tenor Saxophone Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet Andrew Hill - Piano Richard Davis - Bass Joe Chambers - Drums
Last week, julianat became my 300th follower, and she requested a little something by John Coltrane. Well, here it is and I hope you’ll/she’ll enjoy it.
This, along with the earlier mentioned ’Getz Au Go Go’, was one of the first jazz records I became accustomed to. I know it by heart, and it is one of my dearest records. Intentionally I wanted to play the title song ‘Olé’, but due to upload restrictions (max. 10MB) it wasn’t possible. It doesn’t matter really, all the songs on this album are great. I strongly advise everyone to get it.
Following his classic releases ‘Giant Steps’, My Favourite Things’ and ‘Coltrane Plays The Blues’ in the Coltrane catalog, ’Olé Coltrane’ was Coltrane’s final recording for Atlantic before moving to the Impulse! label. Perhaps that is why this album seems to be one of his most overlooked recordings. ‘Olé Coltrane’ was recorded on May 25th, 1961, in between the two sessions that formed the Impulse! release ‘Africa/Brass’.
‘Dahomey Dance’ is a more traditional sounding blues, with Coltrane switching to tenor sax. If not for the double-bass frontline and Dolphy’s unconventional solo, this song could easily be mistaken for a missing gem from Miles’ ’Kind Of Blue’ sessions.
John Coltrane – Tenor Saxophone Eric Dolphy – Alto Saxophone Freddie Hubbard – Trumpet McCoy Tyner – Piano Art Davis – Bass Elvin Jones – Drums
In 1962 (the year of release of this album), Hubbard was still a full time member of The Jazz Messengers, but still had time to record 3 solo albums: ’The Artistry Of Freddie Hubbard’, ‘Here To Stay’ and ‘Hub-Tones’. While the former two have a lot of that unmistakable Messengers style, ‘Hub-Tones’ sounds a lot more like two of Hubbard’s collaborations from a few years earlier: ‘Free Jazz’ and ‘Olé Coltrane’. On ‘Hub-Tones’, Hubbard uses the freedom forged by Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, but stays grounded to the classic Blue Note sound.