Friday, May 11, 2012

Freddie Hubbard's Straight Life

Straight Life is the latest reissue of Freddie Hubbard as part of Sony Music’s CTI Masterworks series celebrating 40 years of CTI. On this particular session Hubbard was joined by George Benson on guitar; Herbie Hancock on electric piano; Joe Henderson on tenor sax; Ron Carter on bass; Jack DeJohnette on drums; Richie ‘Pablo’ Landrum on percussion and Weldon Irvine on tambourine. The album has three songs that include two extended performances and one shorter interpretation of a standard.

There is a loose, jamming feel to the performances starting with the title track which is a Hubbard original on which Benson and Hancock take extended solos both built on repeated riffs with DeJohnette and percussion laying down the rhythm over which Hubbard seems to float above with his playing focusing on the middle. Irvine contributed Mr. Clean, is a mid-tempo cooker with a latin tinge as Henderson and Hubbard state its theme. Hubbard has a bit more heat in his playing and employing more of the upper register and is followed by some fervent playing from Henderson with Benson getting really gritty as well. The closing ballad, Here Comes That Rainy Day, is a lovely duet between Hubbard on flugelhorn with Benson on guitar. A nice conclusion to a reissue that may not be an essential part of Hubbard’s recorded legacy, but one with plenty of fire and cool.

I received a review copy from a publicist for the recording. Here is Freddie Hubbard at the DownBeat Awards performing Straight Life.

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