Freddie Hubbard – Straight Life

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This is a remarkable and often overlooked album by one of the finest and most innovative trumpet players of the ’60s and ’70s. Steeped deeply in funk, Hubbard brings his bright tone and evocative, mercurial playing to the post-Bitches Brew soundscape of electrified instruments, Latin percussion, complex polyrhythms, and “free” blowing focused on texture and atmosphere. Straight Life charts waters different from Davis’ masterpiece, however. Whereas Bitches Brew is a dark, ominous journey into a jungle of rhythm clusters and tonal coloring, Hubbard’s work is sparer, cleaner, and characterized by catchy, almost pop-like themes.

Straight Life is much more than a mere groove-fest, though, as the top-notch players (including Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and a young George Benson on guitar) unfurl formidable chops and vibrant backing throughout. The first two tracks, Hubbard’s title track and Weldon Irvine’s “Mr. Clean,” are lengthy, soulful workouts whose propulsive qualities and buoyancy are contrasted by the third track, the artist’s delicate and gorgeous flugelhorn treatment of “Here’s That Rainy Day.” Taken together, the cuts on Straight Life are musically sophisticated, stirring, and eminently groovy, making this “soul-jazz” of the highest order.

Personnel: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn); Joe Henderson (saxophone); Herbie Hancock (piano); George Benson (guitar); Ron Carter (bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums); Weldon Irvine (tambourine); Richie Landrum (percussion).

Tracklist

01. Straight Life
02. Mr. Clean
03. Here’s That Rainy Day

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2 Responses to “Freddie Hubbard – Straight Life”

  1. João says:

    first time i comment just to say thank you to ever shares such good music in this blog.

  2. james says:

    murder, the first time i bought this record mr clean almost blew me out the window

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