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January 1, 2009

"The Night of The Cookers" - Freddie Hubbard

As we all know, the passing of Freddie Hubbard has tragically occurred this week. He was a true legend and the jazz world will be sad to see him go. He played his trumpet with an incredible amount of passion, and weather it was a ballad or an uptempo track, you could always hear it. He was also incredibly universal, stepping out of his element with avant-garde on Ornette's Free Jazz and Dolphy's Out to Lunch, and a hard bop soldier for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, as all as a sideman for more post bop-esq recordings with Bobby Hutcherson and Andrew Hill -- this is just a conservative list of what he was able to achieve, and he was successful with all of it.

The Night of the Cookers: Live at Club La Marchal
was originally issued in two volumes on Blue Note. A dual disc CD reissue appeared containing the whole set which I was able to pick up used way back. I believe it may have been the second Hubbard album I obtained with him as a leader. This is an interesting set and I was not really prepared for it being the jazz novice that I was years ago. The compositions are long, requiring a serious ammount of stamina and attention, and the recording quality is fairly good.

The best thing about this recording is Lee Morgan and Hubbard playing off of each other. Having two of the best trumpeteers from the 60s is a rare treat for the ears.
Pensativa is the first track clocking in at over 22 minutes. Its aesthetic resembles sort of a coctail party sound; smooth and mellow. Big Black's rhythms on the congas and James Spaudling's flute playing are a perfect complement to Hubbard and Morgan as well as Harold Mabern's vamping on the keys. Following this tune is the classic composition Walkin'. Filled with energy and excellent accompaniment by Pete La Roca on drums. The solos are powerful and extensive. Two thirds into the track Morgan, Hubbard, and Spaudling trade forths with La Roca and Big Black.

I enjoy the second half of this date the best.
Jodo, a composition written by Hubbard, is fierce on its intent, and Hubbard and Morgan take advantage of that with their solos. About nine minutes into the track, you can hear Hubbard trying to direct Spaudling's alto solo by playing quick cord vamps. The band returns to a more mellow, repetativie tune with Breaking Point, also written by Hubbard, to end the set. With a grooving chord progression the tune can make anyone at least tap their foot without them even realizing it.
1965 - Blue Note.
Freddie Hubbard - trumpet; James Spaulding - alto saxophone, flute; Lee Morgan - trumpet; Harold Mabern - piano; Larry Ridley - bass instrument; Pete La Roca - drums; Big Black - congas.