Three days after his high school graduation he joined Lionel Hampton’s big band playing the Alto sax and it was “Hamp” who encouraged Griff to change to the Tenor, and what a Tenor…His first album as leader came in 1956 on the Blue Note label called simply “Introducing Johnny Griffin” featuring Wynton Kelly on piano, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums, this recording brought Griffin critical acclaim. In 1957 he recorded another hit Blue Note album”A Blowing Session” that features him with fellow tenor players John Coltrane and Hank Mobley. This album is a Hardbop treat, not so much of a Tenor battle here as these three artist have very distinctive sounds and plenty of solo’s abide here. Bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Blakey combine for some killer rhythm, trumpet man Lee Morgan and Wynton Kelly on the Keys make up for some classic Hard Bop. Happy Birthday to one of my favorites!!
This afternoon I justed loaded up my Ipod with several Freddie Hubbard albums which I consider his best. Cracked open a bottle of my favorite red and had an old fashioned jam session right in the comfort of my livingroom. I actually connected the Ipod into my stereo system and let Mr. Bose deliver the goods. I started out with Goin’ Up a 1960 Blue Note album featuring the talents of Hank Mobley, McCoy Tyner, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. The rhythm section is top notch and set the stage for Hank and Freddie to square off for some really great improvisations and some classic jazz. Freddie always had a certain identifiable sound that sometimes you just have to hear and re-live, Nice! The next album to kick in was my first introduction to Freddie Hubbard and that would be Red Clay, a 1970 album on the CTI label with Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Lenny White. This album has maybe a hint of “Rock/Fusion” mixed with a large dose of Hardbop in its musical recipe, makes for some interesting and fresh sounds. To round out this kind of homemade gig I included his album from 1962 “Hub Tones” for Blue Note again. On this album James Spaulding, Herbie Hancock, Reggie Workman and Clifford Jarvis are all in top form and you add the fact that Freddie wrote all the songs on this one and this album becomes very special indeed. Freddie’s talent as composer really comes thru on this set. After a couple of hours and a glass of wine the mood is set for a good time and I have just listened to one of the finest jazz trumpeters to play a gig. Discover!!
Us 3 is a great album for your collection with George Tucker on bass and Al Harewood on drums.