Recent listening, current

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

51. Freddie Hubbard / Open Sesame (1960)

I think: Open Sesame. The title says, as if by magic, Freddie Hubbard has arrived. It's is a very strong debut and an easy mark for the core collection. We also get a great band. Tina Brooks on tenor really tears it up. On the title track, Brooks sinks his teeth into the riffs, blowing these long, stretchy phrases that step across the bars like hurdles and land back in time when he runs out of breath. He's a good man on ballads, too, like the droopy "But Beautiful." Behind the traps is Clifford Jarvis, two years shy of becoming a Saturnian. His energy, polyrhythmical claptrap and close work with Hubbard's improvisations add depth that is a few cuts above the standard hard bop set. Sam Jones plays big round notes in a sentimental and melodic style which at times reminds me of Ray Brown. He's aided everywhere by McCoy Tyner's drizzling fills and colorfully voiced chords. "Gypsy Blue" has a Latin tinge. The head has a cool arrangement where Hubbard and Brooks play in, and then slightly out of phase, hypnotically swinging it along. Hubbard's centerpiece is the rollicking "All or Nothing at All," where he shows off his chops in wild, flashy runs, rubber fingered flourishes, and big brassy blasts in the upper register. The guy's a natural who learned to improvise before he learned to read, and it shows.

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