Saturday, 9 August 2014

“Red Clay/Straight Life/First Light” by FREDDIE HUBBARD – A Review Of His First 3 LPs For CTI Records (Creed Taylor Inc) In 1970 and 1971 – Now Remastered And Expanded Onto 2CDs By Beat Goes On Records Of The UK (BGO) In July 2014…

Freddie Hubbard is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


“…Playing It Straight...” 
- Red Clay/Straight Life/First Light by FREDDIE HUBBARD (2014 2CD Remasters)

Produced by Blue Note’s legendary sound engineer Rudy Van Gelder – Trumpeter FREDDIE HUBBARD saw his first three albums for CTI Records (Creed Taylor Inc) released in 1970 and 1971 – and this superb BGO 2CD reissue does those straight-up Jazz pieces a solid. Here are the details…

UK released July 2014 – Beat Goes On BGOCD 1154 (Barcode 5017261211545) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (66:54 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 4 are the album “Red Clay” – released June 1970 in the USA on CTI Records CTI 6001
Track 5 is a cover version of John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” and is a Bonus Track
Track 6 is the first cut on the album “Straight Life” – released March 1971 in the USA on CTI Records CTI 6007

Disc 2 (78:12 minutes):
Tracks 1 and 2 are the remainder of the album “Straight Life””
Tracks 3 to 7 are the album “First Light” – released December 1971 in the USA on CTI Records CTI 6013
Tracks 8 and 9 “Fantasy In D” and “First Light (Alternate)” are Bonus Tracks

For “Red Clay” Hubbard’s band consisted of HERBIE HANCOCK on Piano, JOE HENDERSON on Saxophone, RON CARTER on Bass and LENNY WHITE on Drums. For “Straight Life” - JOE DeJOHNETTE replaced Lenny White on Drums and added GEORGE BENSON on Guitar - while the “First Light” sessions kept the “Straight Up” line-up but also added HUBERT LAWS on Flute as well as a host of other Horn and Vibe players.

The 16-page booklet features liner notes by noted musicologist CHARLES WARRING and new interviews with Lenny White about the harrowing recording session with his Jazz heroes in every corner of the studio (he was only in his early twenties). The outer card wrap also lends these BGO reissues a feeling of class – but truth be told – I really miss the gorgeous artwork of those glossy hard-card gatefold sleeves that caught your eye and made you part with cash. The tiny pictures of them don’t do the aesthetic feel of those original vinyl gems any real justice. Shame that. But as ever with BGO – making up for any shortcomings is the fantastic remastered sound…

As you can imagine the Rudy Van Gelder production values on these contemporary Jazz pieces are immaculate throughout and ANDREW THOMPSON’s 2014 remasters bring this to very much to the fore – each cut is warm, clear as a bell and full of presence. The beautiful “Dolphins” (from “Red Clay”) is presented to us with such delicacy – it’s a joy to the ear. Hubbard also dug his Beatles Solo work – the 10-minute outtake on John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” is suitably jagged, manic and a brilliant interpretation of an awkward song - while Paul McCartney’s “Ram” centrepiece “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” (from 1971) retains the original’s whimsy and pretty melody (nicely mixing in strings with the Trumpet to give a sort of “I Am The Walrus” effect). And the two outtakes from “First Light” are real finds too.

Like so many others Hubbard would go the route of Jazz Fusion on the albums that followed - “Keep Your Soul Together” (1973) and “Polar AC” (1975) – his next phase with the iconic CTI label.

A beautifully done reissue – and despite missing that fab artwork - wholeheartedly recommended…

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