211

Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life On the surface, Freddie Hubbard's Straight Life doesn't seem like a record that should have ever found much success on the CTI label. This record lacks any grandiose arrangements or classical-jazz crossovers, two of the three tracks are far too long to garner much airplay, and those same two tracks—"Straight Life" and "Mr. Clean"—are far rawer and more groove-oriented than standard CTI-issue material. That the programming is so odd—with a guitar and flugelhorn ballad following thirty minutes of soul-funk jamming—also adds to the potential for failure, but this was Freddie Hubbard in the early '70s, failure simply never entered into the equation during the trumpeter's 's heyday, and this record is no exception His brazen style, balanced by his beautiful ballad work, helped to make this record a classic, and CTI Masterworks is bringing it back as part of their fourth wave of reissues.

This particular release contains no bonus material or extra bells and whistles, which is perfectly fitting, considering the primal nature of its music. The title track opens up, appropriately enough, with Hubbard and drummer Jack DeJohnette exchanging calls of the wild. While Hubbard is the dominant force and leader, DeJohnette deserves the award for best supporting player on "Straight Life" and "Mr. Clean." He brings the same funky intensity to Hubbard's music that he brought to Miles Davis' early '70s oeuvre. In fact, "Mr. Clean" is probably the closest Hubbard ever came to Davis' sound from this particular era.

While groove trumps melody at first, and the solos reflect the loose-and-funky flexibility of the music, Hubbard's trip through "Here's That Rainy Day" couldn't be more different. He sketches around the structure of the song, and the loosely flowing garb that he uses to dress the melody in is a far cry from the adrenaline-fueled solo work of the previous tracks. George Benson's guitar proves to be the perfect partner for Hubbard's horn, as it fills in all the gaps, responds in kind to his warm horn gestures, and adds a rich layer of harmonic underbrush to the performance.

While Straight Life is occasionally overshadowed by Hubbard's mega-successful Red Clay (CTI, 1970) and First Light (CTI, 1971), this album represents the trumpeter's finest foray into sprawling funk-fusion, showing off yet another side of Hubbard's brilliant musical personality.


Track Listing: Straight Life; Mr. Clean; Here's That Rainy Day.

Personnel: Freddie Hubbard: trumpet, flugelhorn; George Benson: guitar; Jack DeJohnette: drums; Richie "Pablo" Landrum: percussion; Weldon Irvine: tambourine; Herbie Hancock: piano; Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; Ron Carter: bass.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: CTI Masterworks | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Hasta Karma" CD/LP/Track Review Hasta Karma
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: February 20, 2016
Read "Fake It Until You Make It" CD/LP/Track Review Fake It Until You Make It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Infinite Spirit - Revisiting Music of the Mwandishi Band" CD/LP/Track Review Infinite Spirit - Revisiting Music of the Mwandishi Band
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 4, 2016
Read "Once & Future" CD/LP/Track Review Once & Future
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "The Beautiful Day" CD/LP/Track Review The Beautiful Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Wee +3" CD/LP/Track Review Wee +3
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!