Freddie Hubbard – The Artistry of Freddie Hubbard – Impulse/ Analogue Productions CIPJ 27 SA /Universal Music SACD

by | Jul 10, 2011 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Freddie Hubbard – The Artistry of Freddie Hubbard – Impulse/ Analogue Productions CIPJ 27 SA /Universal Music stereo-only SACD B0014490-06 – 1962, 43:23 (Distr. by Harmonia mundi) ****½:  

(Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; Curtis Fuller, trombone; John Gilmore, tenor sax; Tommy Flanagan, piano; Art Davis, bass; Louis Hayes, drums)

The great trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard, was only 24 years old when The Artistry of Freddie Hubbard was recorded in July 1962. He was already a hot commodity on the jazz scene, recording for Blue Note Records and as an active member of one of the best Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers aggregations, where he shared the stage with Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller. Known as a fiery trumpeter out of the Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan school, Hubbard was a master blaster, whose command of the high trumpet register was well noted.

Freddie recorded three albums for Impulse in the early 60s and Artistry is considered by many to be the best of the lot. Made up of five compositions, with three self-penned (and the other two, “Caravan” and “Summertime” being long known classics), Freddie included Sun Ra’s tenor saxist, John Gilmore, for one of Gilmore’s few mainstream recordings. Taking off the rough edges were Hubbard’s compatriot, Curtis Fuller, and the supreme rhythm section of pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Art Davis, and Cannonball Adderley’s drummer, Louis Hayes. With Hubbard passing away last year and Davis in 2007, we have only Louis Hayes and Curtis Fuller, still on the scene, and fortunately, both are still recording, with Hayes being especially active.

Artistry starts out with Ellington and Tizol’s “Caravan,” which has been recorded over 3500 times to date. Freddie’s version is full bodied with great cymbal work by Hayes and the horns blend nicely. The trumpet solo is hard bop heaven. Gilmore’s tenor solo has a strong Coltrane influence- dark and moody.

“Bob’s Place” gives bassist Davis room to shine, whether with Arco or pizzicato bowed solos.  Curtis Fuller’s ‘bone has a burnished tone that leads to the relaxed feel, and when all the horns harmonize backed by rim shots from Hayes, all is well. “Happy Times” is another hard bop number which brings to mind Blakey’s Messengers. Gilmore blows several choruses of blues meets “free” lines.

Gershwin’s “Summertime” gives us the familiar theme set out by Freddie, before the Fuller comes aboard with a ruminative statement. Gilmore is restrained as well and Flanagan adds to the moody atmosphere. Freddie ups the energy as he adds his trademark rapid runs as the tune winds down. Certainly, a great version of this timeless classic. “The 7th Day” has a flamenco flavor and Gilmore’s flavor adds a North African resonance.

Analogue Productions has done a fine job with remastering of the original recording and each instrument gets its due. They’ve caught Hubbard’s swagger and the horn blend is warm. Hayes’s drumming, Flanagan’s understated comping, and Davis’ pulsing bass are all presented with a clarity that greatly exceeds the original standard CD pressing.

Catch Freddie and crew in glorious sound. Highly recommended…

Caravan, Bob’s Place, Happy Times, Summertime, The 7th Day.

-Jeff Krow

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