Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gabriel's new trumpetmate

Forget (no, don't) Freddie Hubbard's own great sessions, Ready for Freddie, Breaking Point, Red Clay, Straight Life, First Light, et al; this list struck me in reading his L.A. Times obituary today:

"Seemingly the first choice for artists of every stripe, he was present on many of the most significant jazz albums of the '60s, among them Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, John Coltrane's Ascension, Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch, Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth, Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil and Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage." And, I would add, Sonny Rollins' East Broadway Run Down (and Coltrane's Africa/Brass as well). Now that's a list, and it doesn't even include his stellar Jazz Messengers stuff, like Caravan.

I got to see Freddie Hubbard twice this year, first at Yoshi's in San Francisco in April for his 70th birthday celebration performance. Still working on overcoming a series of health problems, he was, frankly, awful on the horn(s). But with the good soul, and the sense of humor, he exhibited and the effort he exerted despite everything, you just had to pull for him. Plus, the band he had around him, which included Bobby Hutcherson, James Spaulding and George Cables, among others, was fabulous.

In August, I thought about heading home before his appearance at the Indy Jazz Fest. I stayed and was so glad (now, even more) that I did. He was never going to be the Freddie Hubbard of the '60s and '70s again, but he sounded a lot better and seemed to me to have figured out how to cope with his limitations, judiciously employ the chops he still had and maximize them in the context of the band. It was a memorable show. I'm sorry I won't see another one like it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Good enough to eat...

Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage, Joe Henderson Page One, Lee Morgan the Sidewinder today.

I could probably live fulfilled on the classic Blue Notes.

But I did throw in Monk Underground and Mingus Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, the latter a classic, or classical, in any company.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays

Henry's 2008 Xmas card
Originally uploaded by mrgreg
The 2008 Xmas card from the great bassist, and artist extraordinaire, Henry Grimes, which appeared in my inbox yesterday.

Many thanks and happy holidays to Henry and Margaret, and the rest of you, too.