Saturday, January 3, 2009

Freddie Hubbard Live at the Keystone Korner, 1981

In honor of Freddie Hubbard's passing, I can recommend a two album live recording: Keystone Bop Vol. 1: Sunday, and Keystone Bop Vol. 2: Friday/Saturday. I've been bouncing to it for the first time tonight. It is a fine little live date, recorded sharply enough to feel very real. You can't hear Hubbard talking into the mike very well, but all the music comes through, and plenty of club sounds to make you feel like you're there.

Backing Hubbard is Joe Henderson on tenor and Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, with Billy Childs piano, Larry Klein bass, and Steve Houghton drums. Henderson and Hutcherson are in very good form, and the moan of the horns melds perfectly with the chimes and piano. Boy did these guys still have it in 1981!

Here is sample from the Sunday night set, a version of 'Red Clay'. You can compare it with the original, available on my previous post. This is toe curlin' good. Henderson's solo is noble, the kind of thing you hang on a coat of arms. Hutcherson doesn't let any air out of the balloon with his solo. But Hubbard turns on the burners full blast, and then settles into a pensive treatment of the sweet center of the melody. Klein's bass solo is worth the admission price. You are going to love this one.
Red Clay
I note that it is preceded by a splendid version of 'Round Midnight', which I almost posted but didn't, since it is all Henderson and no Hubbard. But you don't want to miss it. Get the disc. Both of them are available from eMusic for pennies.

Also check out Ken Laster's tribute to Freddie Hubbard at In the Groove. He has a cut from Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil that will bring you back to the faith. God bless Freddie.


  1. One of my podcast listeners recommended another Hubbard gem. It's an album called Straight Life. It is basically 2 long,long jams and one ballad. Seeing as it is just 3 tracks the download price from Amazon is $2.97. Hubbard, Benson, Carter, DeJohnette, Hancock, Henderson, Landrum (percussion). I played the ballad on my podcast last week, and will play one of the long jams next week.

  2. Ken:

    I took your word for it and downloaded the album. It is a fine recording. More blues than jazz, I think, but there ain't nothin' wrong with that. I have been busy editing a book on Darwin and Conservatives, and approaching a deadline with a ferocious cold. Straight Life put the starch back in my collar.