Freddie Hubbard: Lonely Town


Lonely Town


Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)


First Light (Sony BMG 724352)

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Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Richard Wyands (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums),

strings and woodwinds conducted by Don Sebesky


Composed by Leonard Bernstein; arranged by Don Sebesky


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 1971


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Freddie Hubbard's first three CTI releases, Red Clay, Straight Life and First Light were probably his most successful ever commercially, and had great merit artistically as well. First Light won a 1972 Grammy Award, and was the first of his recordings to feature Don Sebesky's creative arrangements. If memory serves, the title track and "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" got most of the jazz radio airplay, but "Lonely Town" with Hubbard's exquisite trumpet work and Sebesky's superb arrangement is a neglected classic. The thought occurs: how fascinating would collaborations between Sebesky/Miles Davis and Gil Evans/Hubbard have been?

"Lonely Town" is from Leonard Bernstein's 1940s Broadway musical On the Town, later made into a movie starring Gene Kelly. The strings/woodwinds intro is richly evocative. Carter's bassline ensues and introduces Hubbard's inspired reading of the wistful theme, backed by Wyands's sensitive comping, DeJohnette's brisk rhythms, and the orchestra's sympathetic fills. Hubbard's solo is aggressively lyrical, his lush tone elevating the effectiveness of his sinuous runs. Wyands, albeit on the now outdated-sounding electric piano, next contributes a short but appealing improvisation. Hubbard reappears to elaborate upon the melody, with the orchestra again in total harmony. The trumpeter's coda is Miles-like in its use of kissed and slurred notes. Sebesky has the last word, a refrain memorable for its succinct poignancy.

Reviewer: Scott Albin


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