Sunday, May 8, 2011

Freddie Hubbard - Blue Spirits

In recent reviews of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard Blue Note reissues "Night of the Cookers" and "Breaking Point", I said that it was great to have those titles available again but that I would prefer it if the rarer "Blue Spirits" had been released. Well the folks at Blue Note must have been reading my Amazon comments because "Blue Spirits" has been included in the latest batch RVG reissues (8/10/04). This title had been previously available on CD, but aside from a brief reprint in the old Collectors Choice program, it has been out-of-print for nearly 15 years! Well I must say it is great to finally capture the elusive "Blue Spirits." This disc is actually made up of three different recording sessions. The first two tracks, "Soul Serge" and "Cunga Black," are from February 19, 1965 and feature James Spaulding on alto sax and flute, Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Kiane Zawadi on euphonium, Harold Mabern Jr. on piano, Larry Ridley on bass, Clifford Jarvis on drums and Big Black on conga. This material is latin-flavored, soul jazz and very similar in style to the music on "Night of the Cookers." Many will find these songs enjoyable but for me they are the album's most predictable selections and therefore the weakest. Next are three cuts from a week later (2/26/65) again featuring Hub, Spaulding and Zawadi, but this time joined by Hank Mobley on tenor sax, McCoy Tyner on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Pete LaRoca on drums. This is classic modern modal jazz and all three songs, "Outer Forces," "Blue Spirits" and "Jodo" (reprised on "Cookers" but tighter here), are among the best Blue Note songs of the period. However, the most surprising material comes from the final session of March 5, 1966 with Hub, Henderson, Hosea Taylor on bassoon, Herbie Hancock on piano and celeste, Reggie Workman on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. These two tracks, "The Melting Pot" and "True Colors," were not included on the original vinyl and are bonus tracks to this CD (and the previous incarnation). While Hubbard penned all seven of this CD's compositions, these two are a noticeable departure from his previous writing. Sure, they are experimental but fascinating in revealing Freddie's numerous creative talents, and the direction his music could have taken had he continued down this avant-garde path. In all, "Blue Spirits" is one of those rare Blue Note gems that I have enjoyed for years, and now with this reissue you can too. Amazon user.


No comments: