Freddie Hubbard – First Light (1971/2016) [e-Onkyo FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Freddie Hubbard – First Light (1971/2016) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 36:11 minutes | 1,35 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: e-Onkyo | Front Cover | © CTI Records
Recorded: September 1971 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

In the pantheon of jazz trumpeters, Freddie Hubbard stands as one of the boldest and most inventive artists of the bop, hard-bop and post-bop eras. Although influenced by titans like Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, Hubbard ultimately forged his own unique sound – a careful balance of bravado and subtlety that fueled more than fifty solo recordings and countless collaborations with some of the most prominent jazz artists of his era.
After a series of strong releases on Blue Note and a stint with the Jazz Messengers in the ’60s, Hubbard enjoyed his greatest popular success in the 1970s with a series of crossover albums on Atlantic and CTI Records. His early ‘70s jazz albums for CTI – Red Clay (1970), Straight Life (1970) and First Light (1971) – were particularly well received with the latter taking home a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance.
First Light finds the trumpeter joined by guitarists Eric Gale and George Benson, pianists Herbie Hancock and Richard Wyands, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette and percussionist Airto Moreira amidst elegant string arrangements by Don Sebesky, a first for Hubbard thus the title. From the sizzling title track to a melodic take on Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” to a lovely rendition of the Mancini/Mercer standard “Moment To Moment,” First Light is first-rate.

Never one to take lyricism for granted, trumpeter and composer Freddie Hubbard entered Creed Taylor’s studio for the third time in 1971 with the express purpose of making a record radically different from anything he’d cut before; he was looking for it to use electricity and to be out of the soul-jazz mold, but was also more ambitious and wanted to push that envelope and himself. Taylor and Hubbard assembled a band that included Herbie Hancock on Rhodes, guitarists Eric Gale and George Benson, bassist Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette on drums, Airto Moreira on percussion, and Richard Wyands on acoustic piano to back him. The band was also supported by the truly ethereal and adventurous string arrangements of Don Sebesky (a first for Hubbard). The result is a masterpiece of textured sound, gorgeously far-flung charts, sweet, tight grooves, a subtle mystic feel, and some of Hubbard’s most exciting playing ever. The title track and Hubbard’s ingenious read of Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey,” as well as Leonard Bernstein’s “Lonely Town,” are so in the pocket that they bleed soul. Benson’s uncharacteristically edgy guitar playing juxtaposed against Hubbard’s warm tone, and Hancock’s beautifully modal Rhodes lines that are drenched with big, open, minor chord voicings, are simply made more illustrious and graceful by Sebesky’s strings. While Red Clay and Straight Life are both fine albums, First Light is the one that connects on all levels — and it did with the jazz-buying public as well. A masterpiece. —AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

1 First Light 11:05
2 Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey 8:17
3 Moment To Moment 5:43
4 Yesterday’s Dreams 3:55
5 Lonely Town 7:00

Freddie Hubbard – Flugelhorn, Horn, Trumpet
George Benson – Guitar
Hubert Laws – Flute
Ray Alonge, James Buffington – French Horn
Ron Carter – Bass
Jack DeJohnette – Drums
Phil Kraus – Vibraphone, Vocals (Background)
Romeo Penque – Clarinet, Flute, Horn (English), Oboe
Alfred Brown, Emanuel Vardi – Viola
David Nadien, Emanuel Green, Gene Orloff, Harold Kohon, Irving Spice, Joe Malin, Matthew Raimondi, Paul Gershman, Tosha Samaroff – Violin
Wally Kane – Bassoon, Flute
George Marge – Clarinet, Flute
Airto Moreira – Percussion
Margaret Ross – Harp
Jane Taylor – Bassoon
Richard Wyands – Piano