Freddie Hubbard's output grew increasingly erratic after his departure from CTI Records in the mid-1970s, and you never knew whether he would come out with a gem like Super Blue
or an embarrassing "smooth jazz" stinker like Windjammer
. Originally a two-LP set and now a single CD, Live At The Northsea Jazz Festival, 1980
definitely falls into the "gem" category. The trumpeter/flugelhornist is captured on stage at The Hague in Holland, where he leads a cohesive quintet that includes Davis Schnitter on tenor sax, Billy Childs on electric keyboards, Larry Klein on electric bass and Sinclair Lott on drumsand where he truly soars on familiar originals like "Red Clay," "First Light" and "One Of Another Kind" as well as an explosive version of John Coltrane's "Impressions." Much like his CTI work of the early-to-mid 1970s, this live date doesn't cater to small-minded "jazz purists." Though Hub doesn't take the fusion concept as far as Miles Davis, Return To Forever or Weather Report, this is clearly jazz with funk and rock elements.
Unfortunately, the memorable interpretation of "The Summer Knows" that graced the original double-LP was omitted due to time limitations. But even so, it's great to see this album reissued on CD.