Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life
Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
Straight Life (Legacy 724268)
Richie Landrum (percussion), Weldon Irvine (tambourine).
Composed by Freddie Hubbard.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 16, 1970
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Freddie Hubbard died at age 70 on December 29, 2008, but "Straight Life" lives on as proof of his tremendous playing skills. Salsa-inspired rhythms are intertwined with an instantly recognizable melody that leads to some of the best playing by Hubbard and saxophonist Joe Henderson on CD. Henderson goes first, and his musings step very far outside the defined chord map. As the rhythm section generates a head of steam, he manages to cut up the air with his high end, and the track immediately pushes the boundaries of what should be expected from a 17-minute, 2-chord improvisation. Regarding Hubbard, his playing here can be considered more "in the pocket" than Henderson's, and his most impressive lines are those where he sustains notes for several measures. The form is obviously elemental, but the improvising is of superior quality, and the all-star lineup lives up to its promise on an essential album. In its entirety, Straight Life is still fresh, and if this is what Hubbard and Henderson's jam session in Heaven is bound to sound like, I'd love to own a copy of the recording.
Reviewer: Marcus Singletary