We’re a day later than usual here at Flea Market Funk, and I apologize to my people who are looking for their Monday morning FMF fix, like a junkie on the search for a quick hit of the good stuff. I had a busy weekend, and after a tremendous win by my NY Red Bulls over the Houston Dynamo 3-nil at home (and Liverpool sitting at the top of the BPL, even just for a day) there was some celebrating to do. I’ll talk football privately, but I wanted to drop some Jazz once again on you. This time we have one of the most bad ass trumpet players around. Here’s Freddie Hubbard with “People Make the World Go Round” from CTI Records in 1975.
An Indianapolis, Indiana native and born in 1938. Starting out with the Montgomery Brothers, he would make the pilgrimage 20 years later to the Jazz mecca of New York City. Initially rooming with future genius Eric Dolphy, and eventually hooking up to play with Quincy Jones, he would go on tour with Q throughout Europe. Quite a feat for a 22 year old who could call his peers Miles Davis and Dizzie Gillespie (and had no problem keeping up with them either). Here is a cat who was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, played with Ornette Coleman, John Coletrane (his appearance on Ole and Acension are among my favorites) , the aforementioned Quincy Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Wayne Shorter, Curtis Fuller and so many more others. This hard bop veteran was a great trumpet player as well as equally comfortable on the flugelhorn, and knew his way around some Free Jazz, as was evident with his association with Ornette. I was introduced to Hubbard first through his Blue Note and Impulse! recordings. However, it was my love for all things CTI that reeled me in (as if the Blue Note Stuff wasn’t enough). His best in my opinion is Red Clay and this record Polar AC, but heads took notice to First Light as well. He won a Grammy for it in 1972. After CTI it is many people’s opinion that Hubbard was at the low point in his career, recording bad record after bad record. Freddie would come back to his glory though once again after recording with Herbie Hancock’s VSOP and also for the Pablo label. His on top playing would not stay around for long, as he started to not show up for his shows, and it was evident something was wrong. His excessive drinking and infected split lip attributed to some of the problem. That split lip sent him back to basics, and his high intensity playing forced him to relearn playing the trumpet. Despite his ups and down in jazz, Hubbard says of this: “If you don’t have your own sound, you’ll be forgotten. Jazz isn’t like pop, where you can sell millions of records with a hit. Your spirit and soul aren’t important in pop music. But jazz is like classical music. If people like you, they’ll remember and you’ll last forever.” Hubbard has not been forgotten, recycled in samples from A Tribe Called Quest, Guru, Souls of Mischief, UMC’s, King Tee, Blackalicious (who sampled this on “Swan Lake:), Beastie Boys, Big Daddy Kane, and more.
Hubbard’s take on the Stylistics is a good one. Of course it’s in a Jazz style, which is a little on the slower side compared to the version I used earlier on a mix by O’Donel Leavy. His CTI lineup is a killer, as he enlisted the help of Lenny White on drums, Hubert Laws on Flute, Ron Carter on Bass, George Cables on piano, and the great Bob James arranging. For me, I dig Hubbard. Whether he’s with the Jazz Messengers, playing with Coltrane, or his best years experimenting with Creed Taylor’s label, I’ll take it all. I will see you Friday with some more goodness, and then most likely next midweek because of the Labor Day holiday. Keep Diggin’!