Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Freddie Hubbard - Pinnacle; Live and Unreleased from Keystone Korner (Resonance, 2011)

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard was one of the leading lights of the hard-bop movement in the sixties, leading several albums of his own for Blue Note Records, while participating in sessions as wide ranging as Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz and John Coltrane’s Ascension. Hubbard had become something of a journeyman by 1980 when this concert was recorded; he had recorded some pop-jazz for Atlantic in the 70’s and would soon develop severe lip problems that would curtail the remainder of his career. This album features Hubbard on trumpet and flugelhorn, Billy Childs on acoustic and electric piano and Larry Klein on bass. Hadley Caliman and David Schnitter split tenor saxophone duties, as do Eddie Marshall and Sinclair Lott on drums, while Phil Ranelin sits in on trombone for several tracks. Opening with “The Intrepid Fox” the music is fast hard-bop with strong trumpet and saxophone combining for the urgent melody. Hubbard steps forward with a strong trumpet solo, making for snappy fresh hard-bop over strong piano accompaniment. “First Light” starts with a medium tempo, before developing an unexpected free-form squall before morphing into a yearning melody. Uptempo strong trumpet soloing lead into an electric piano interlude backed by bass and drums before they wind down to a quiet conclusion. The group comes back strong with “One of Another Kind” with piano opening the performance in the company of medium tempo bass and drums. This is followed by one of Hubbard’s strongest statements on the album, a solo of protean power, followed by a strong tenor saxophone interlude. They change things up on the next couple of tunes; “Happiness is Now” which develops a funky feel around electric piano and riffing horns and the spare ballad “The Summer Knows” where Hubbard develops a light patient solo with lush piano in support. They wrap up the album with a strong version of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” with the band storming with the complex song with exciting virtuosity. This is a solid archival issue, I downloaded the mp3 through Amazon, but apparently the CD version adds interesting liner notes and period photographs to round out the package. Pinnacle Live & Unreleased: From Keystone Korner -

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