Biography, Selected Discography, Transcriptions
This page is maintained by Jeff Helgesen.
Frederick Dewayne Hubbard was born in Indiapolis, Indiana, on April 7, 1938. After spending a year playing mellophone in the John Hope Junior High School band, he switched to trumpet. While at Arsenal Tech High School, Hubbard also began playing french horn.
Though offered a scholarship by Indiana Central College for his french horn playing, Hubbard elected to study trumpet for the next year at the Jordan Conservatory of Music, and took lessons with Max Woodbury of the Indianapolis Symphony. During this period he worked in the Indianapolis area with a band called The Contemporaries and with the Montgomery Brothers (Wes, Buddy, and Monk).
In 1958, Hubbard travelled to New York City, first playing with baritone saxophonist Jay Cameron and later with his own group, and was shortly after hired on by Philly Joe Jones. His early playing style clearly owed elements to Miles Davis (his first influence), Clifford Brown, and Kenny Dorham.
By 1960, Hubbard had recorded his first album as a leader for Blue Note, Open Sesame, recorded with Eric Dolphy, and worked in the groups of Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Persip, Slide Hampton, and J.J. Johnson before touring Europe with Quincy Jones' orchestra. He appeared as a sideman on several important jazz recordings from this period, including Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz and Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth.
In 1961, Hubbard joined the front line of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers group (along with Wayne Shorter and Curtis Fuller), producing some of the groups most significant albums. Hubbard remained in the group until 1964. He appeared on Eric Dolphy's seminal recording Out to Lunch in that year.He recorded Ascension with John Coltrane (1965), and Maiden Voyage with Herbie Hancock and, after a period with Max Roach (1965-66), he led his own quintet which at the time usually featured altoist James Spaulding.
The 1970s mark some highs and lows for Hubbard. A fruitful association with producer Creed Taylor for CTI yielded some excellent albums (Red Clay and Straight Life in 1970, and First Light in 1971), but shortly after, Hubbard signed with Columbia and recorded several albums clearly geared toward more commercial consumption (simultaneously alienating those in the jazz mainstream).
It was not until 1977 that he returned his attention to the type of playing that had been so successful during his CTI period, touring with Herbie Hancock's V.S.O.P. group and producing recordings with such labels as Pablo, Blue Note, and Atlantic. Unfortunately, many in the jazz public had written him off by this point, even though he clearly retained the brilliance that made him such a force earlier in his career. High points of this period include recordings one with Oscar Peterson and a pair with Woody Shaw.
By the late 1980s, Hubbard's lack of reliability in making scheduled appearances (as well as other undocumented personal problems) began to hurt his professional stature, and his technique began to show some cracks.
In late 1992, Hubbard's chops broke down completely after he damaged his upper lip. After two years of rebuilding and relearning how to play with this damage, he began recording again for the Music Masters label with mixed success. Still on the comeback trail to this day, it remains to be seen whether Hubbard can regain the glory that made him such a success in the 60s.
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Dexter Gordon: Doin' Alright
I Was Doin' Alright (Gershwin/Gershwin) / You've Changed (Carey/Fischer) / For Regulars Only (Gordon) / For Regulars Only [alt. take] (Gordon) / Society Red (Gordon) / It's You Or No One (Cahn/Styne) / I Want More (Gordon)
Freddie Hubbard: Ready for Freddie
Arietis (Hubbard) / A Weaver of Dreams (Elliott/Young) / Marie Antoinette (Shorter) / Birdlike (Hubbard) / Crisis (Hubbard) / Arietis [alternate take] (Hubbard) / Marie Antoinette [alternate take] (Shorter)
Freddie Hubbard's solo on "Birdlike" (PDF: 161KB)
Freddie Hubbard: Hub-Tones
You're My Everything / Prophet Jennings / Hub-Tones / Lament For Booker / For Spee's Sake / You're My Everything / (alt.) Hub-Tones / (alt.) For Spee's Sake (alt.)
Herbie Hancock: Takin' Off
Watermelon Man (Hancock) / Three Bags Full (Hancock) / Empty Pockets (Hancock) / The Maze (Scott) / Driftin' (Hancock) / Alone Am I (Hancock) / Watermelon Man [alternate take] (Hancock) / Three Bags Full [alternate take] (Hancock) / Empty Pockets [alternate take] (Hancock)
Freddie Hubbard's solo on "Driftin'" (PDF/41Kb)
Art Blakey: Free for All
Free for All (Shorter) / Hammer Head (Shorter) / The Core (Hubbard) / Pensativa (Fischer)
Freddie Hubbard's solo on "Hammerhead" (PDF/61Kb)
Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage
Maiden Voyage (Hancock) / The Eye of the Hurricane (Hancock) / Little One (Hancock) / Survival of the Fittest (Hancock) / Dolphin Dance (Hancock)
Wayne Shorter: Speak No Evil
Witch Hunt (Shorter) / Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum (Shorter) / Dance Cadaverous (Shorter) / Speak No Evil (Shorter) / Infant Eyes (Shorter) / Wild Flower / Dance Cadaverous [alternate take] (Shorter)
Freddie Hubbard's solo on "Witch Hunt" (PDF/56Kb)
Freddie Hubbard: Outpost
Santa Ana Winds (Hubbard) / You Don't Know What Love Is (DePaul/Raye) / The Outpost Blues (Hubbard) / Dual Force (Williams) / Loss (Dolphy)
The following solo was transcribed by Giz Bowe, a freelance trumpet player in Richmond, Virginia.
Freddie Hubbard's solo on "Dual Force" (PDF/90KB)
Ray Charles: The Spirit of Christmas
What Child Is This / The Little Drummer Boy / Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town / This Time Of The Year / Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer / That Spirit Of Christmas / All I Want For Christmas / Christmas In My Heart / Winter Wonderland / Christmas Time / Baby It's Cold Outside
Homegrown (Hubbard)/ Bolivia (Walton) / God Bless The Child (Herzog/Holiday) / Dear John (Hubbard) / Managua (Hubbard) / Third World (Hubbard)
Freddie Hubbard's solo on "Dear John" (PDF/76Kb)
Freddie Hubbard - Biography, Selected Discography, Transcriptions