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.