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.
Track Listing: Open Sesame; But Beautiful; Gypsy Blue; All Or Nothing At All; One Mint Julep; Hub's Nub; Open Sesame (alternate); Gypsy Blue (alternate).
Personnel: Freddie Hubbard: trumpet; Tina Brooks: tenor sax; McCoy Tyner: piano; Sam Jones: bass: Clifford Jarvis: drums.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.