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ALBUM REVIEWS

Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life (40th Anniversary Edition)

Read "Straight Life (40th Anniversary Edition)" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

CTI Records reissued trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's November 1970 date, Straight Life, in 2011. As with some of the other reissues in this series (see John Kelman's in-depth discussion of some of the more important of these), its availability on compact disc has been spotty. Straight Life is a good--if not great--record, and it's good to have it back in circulation.The album is pretty simple. Two numbers--the relatively fast title track and Weldon Irvine's slower-grooving “Mr. Clean"--are long modal-funk ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life

Read "Straight Life" reviewed by Matt Leskovic

Creed Taylor's genre-bending CTI Records held the precarious position as the dominant jazz label during the 1970s--the decade during which the music “died. CTI was a contradiction in itself; it had as much to do with the promotion of straight-ahead, hard-swinging jazz as with spawning smoothed-out, easy-listening records that bordered on muzak. For every album as classy as Jim Hall's Concierto (CTI, 1975) there is a dud like Bob James's BJ4 (CTI, 1977), which comes perilously close to disco. The ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Nina Simone: Baltimore

Read "Baltimore" reviewed by Jim Santella

Nina Simone was called “The High Priestess of Soul." We remember her for the eclectic approach she applied to pop music and the emotion she poured into her music every time out. While Baltimore wasn't among her most memorable projects, it does offer a clear picture of the artist's spirit. This reissue provides an opportunity for collectors to secure a sampling of her lesser-known material.

Folk, pop, reggae, and gospel all come together on one program where Simone ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Deodato: Deodato 2

Read "Deodato 2" reviewed by David Rickert

The surprise success of “Also Sprach Zarathrustra” on Prelude prompted Deodato to quickly follow with Deodato 2, a record that closely followed the template of his first number one hit. Deodato knew there was a lot of money to be made courting the rock audience, and there’s little on this record that could safely be called jazz. However, this record still stands up remarkably well today, unlike some of the other keyboard-driven records from the era. This time “Rhapsody in ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Freddie Hubbard: Red Clay

Read "Red Clay" reviewed by David Rickert

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Benson: Bad Benson

Read "Bad Benson" reviewed by David Rickert

Some tunes are so sacred that any attempt to cover them can only result in failure. Yet George Benson makes this mistake twice on Bad Benson ; the band can’t quite manage a groove in 5/4 on Brubeck’s “Take Five” and once again falter with a horrid disco version of Ellington’s “Take The ‘A’ Train” complete with fake train whistles. Creed Taylor should have offered rebates to anyone that could listen to these numbers more than once without wincing. However, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Antonio Carlos Jobim: Stone Flower

Read "Stone Flower" reviewed by David Rickert

Jobim has been described as the Gershwin of Brazilian music, which is an apt title for a man who contributed so many original songs to the jazz repertoire, adding a few standards along the way. Those who were inspired to follow his work after “The Girl From Ipanema” may have picked up Wave, his most well-known solo record, but may have overlooked Stone Flower, a markedly better effort. The drippy strings on the former record brought out the quiet romanticism ...


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