Freddie Hubbard: Red Clay (1970)
Like Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard's best work was always in the service of others until he signed with Creed Taylor's CTI label. He then released a trio of albums that represents his crowning achievement as a leader. Red Clay finds him in the company of Herbie Hancock, who played a large part in defining jazz fusion, as well as heavyweights like Ron Carter, Joe Henderson, and Lenny White. The title track kicks off the record with a funky groove that is much more memorable than any such trick attempted on Blue Note releases from the previous decade; the remaining tracks are fairly adventurous explorations of a variety of interesting themes. Hancock, whose electric piano is one of the guilty pleasures of the area, carries the day with funky vamping and tasteful soloing. But Hubbard is no slouch either, contributing some of his most memorable solos over the jazzy grooves. Henderson has smoothed out his previous sound, eliminating the stuttering and wailing that defined his style in the sixties. Simply put, Red Clay is one of the relatively few jazz masterpieces from the seventies.
Track Listing: Red Clay; Delphia; Suite Sioux; The Intrepid Fox; Cold Turkey; Red Clay (live).
Personnel: Ron Carter - Bass; Herbie Hancock - Piano; Joe Henderson - Saxophone; Lenny White - Drums; Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet.