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Open Sesame (1960) was Freddie Hubbard’s first record as a leader. If it was his only record it would be legendary, but within two years he had recorded four better ones. What raised the other records above Open Sesame was the drummers: Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, and Louis Hayes. There is nothing wrong with Clifford Jarvis—he swings, he interacts with the other players, and he fits the band’s conservative concept. But on his best records Hubbard fed off his drummer’s energy. That does not happen here.
According to the liner notes Tina Brooks was studying with Jackie McLean at the time of this session, and he does mirror McLean’s penetrating, bluesy sound. He solos with logic and passion but without McLean’s fire and edge. As a writer Brooks contributes the two best tunes of the session: “Open Sesame,” a close relative to Sonny Rollins’ “Airegin”, and “Gypsy Blue,” a blues that inspires Hubbard.
The ballad “But Beautiful” is nothing special. Hubbard doesn’t do much with it (Brooks does.), but like the other cuts it gives the listener a taste of Hubbard’s upcoming brilliance in the genre.
Open Sesame; But Beautiful; Gypsy Blue; All Or Nothing At All; One Mint Julep; Hub's Nub.