Freddie Hubbard 'Jazz Wave' Performances Unearthed

For his first posthumous release, famed jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard will resurface on June 2 with "Without a Song: Live In Europe 1969." Hubbard, who died last December at age 70, will join the ranks of Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, and Horace Silver in a recent series of live releases from Blue Note. For "Without a Song," Grammy award winning producer Michael Cuscana was tapped for production duties.

The seven song set culls from the "Jazz Wave" tour that took place in December of 1969, spanning several European countries and featuring heavy hitters such as Kenny Burrell and Jimmy McGriff. Hubbard’s quartet included Louis Haynes on drums, Roland Hanna on piano and Ron Carter on bass.

"I think these are important in Freddie's legacy because they are pure, powerful trumpet performances," Cuscana tells Billboard.com. "There are no complex tunes or arrangements. It's just Freddie and a world-class trio playing with everything they have. It feels like wandering into Slug's in the Lower East Side on any night in 1969 and hearing playing at such a high level."

While Cuscana originally wanted to release the material on Blue Note years ago, but at Hubbard’s discretion and with the wealth of live material available, he shelved these performances. "I gave Freddie cassettes of a couple of tunes and he said he had bad memories of that tour, the money and everything about it. So I dropped this issue," Cuscana recalls.

That mood changed recently, when Cuscana let Hubbard hear the tapes. After being sidelined with a lip injury, Hubbard’s activity in his later years was greatly limited. "He went crazy," Cuscana says. "He was so excited that he sounded like a kid when he called me. He told me that it was some of his best playing ever captured on tape."

Here is the track list for "Without A Song":

"Without A Song"
"The Things We Did Last Summer"
"A Night In Tunisia"
"Blues By Five"
"Body And Soul"
"Space Track"
"Hub-Tones"

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print