The quintessential hard bop trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard has had his share of ups and downs since he made his precious debut on the ‘60s burgeoning jazz scene so eloquently fostered by Blue Note. The ‘70s were a time for commercial concessions that his critics seemed to condemn with undue fervor, while the ‘80s offered their own share of physical problems. A major statement and his finest work of recent vintage, New Colors is Hubbard at its best and back on the scene.
Fronting a large ensemble with arrangements provided by fellow trumpeter David Weiss, Hubbard revisits some of his most distinctive pieces while taking a go at Chick Corea’s “Inner Space.” It’s interesting to note that two of the charts come from one of Hubbard’s greatest and simultaneously most underrated Blue Note albums, Blue Spirits. The other familiar lines will be the ubiquitous “Red Clay” and “Osie Mae,” from another Blue Note classic, Hub Cap. Of the lesser-known tunes, highlights include “Dizzy’s Atmosphere” (with a brassy fanfare that is punctuated by Chris Karlic’s baritone interjections) and “Blues For Miles” (which sounds faintly like “High Heel Sneakers” with its catchy boogaloo beat).
Hubbard plays flugelhorn on all tracks and is in prime form. He continues to build those incendiary solos that marked him as a maverick while a youngster. Special guests Kenny Garrett and Javon Jackson appear on a track apiece and the rhythm team anchored by either Joe Chambers or Idris Muhammad lays down the royal carpet for Hubbard and the rest of his crew.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.