from Downbeat:

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who from the mid ’60s to the late ’80s was arguably the most powerful and prolific trumpeter in jazz, died Monday morning. He had been admitted to the hospital in early December with what was believed to be a heart attack. He was 70.

Blessed with a sound that combined Clifford Brown’s technique, Lee Morgan’s bravura and Miles Davis’ sensitivity, Hubbard was prominent for much of his career both a leader and a sideman. Born in Indianapolis on April 7, 1938, Hubbard’s earliest professional gigs were with guitarist Wes Montgomery and his brothers before he moved to New York in 1958, working with Eric Dolphy, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones and many others. He recorded with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and on Oliver Nelson’s Blues And The Abstract Truth album.

In 1961, he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers for three years and recorded as a leader for Blue Note. His albums for the label include Breaking Point, Goin’ Up and Hub-Tones, and he appeared as a sideman on a number of important Blue Note dates, including Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles. After stints with Atlantic and Impulse! records, Hubbard worked with producer Creed Taylor in 1970 and recorded a number of accessible and noteworthy jazz-fusion classics including Red Clay, Straight Life, Sky Dive and First Light. In the mid ’70s, Hubbard signed with Columbia and recorded and toured with VSOP: a Miles Davis reunion combo featuring Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams.

Seattle Jazz

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  1. Anybody know the story about his later years and why he dropped off the scene? Seems like he was the “baddest” and then he wasn’t. Too bad he didn’t get to enjoy the elder statesman career he deserved.

  2. Sadly, he blew out his chops after years of too much hard playing, not enough warming up, and some other problems that don’t need to be dredged up here. He ended up doing some serious damage to his lip, which resulted in muscle problems that kept him from playing. In the last couple years he’s been trying to put it back together, and started to compose and perform again. I saw him in NYC last year, and while it was great to see him and his killer band (including James Spaulding, Ronnie Matthews, Christian McBride and Louis Hayes), he couldn’t really play more than one octave, or more than 16 bars at a time, and his tone and control just weren’t there. However, he held court all night, told stories about the tunes and his bandmates, and talked to everyone who wanted to talk to him on the break with a big smile on his face.

    He will be missed.

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