Freddie Hubbard

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. Shortly after his death at the end of 2008, Down Beat called him “the most powerful and prolific trumpeter in jazz.” Embedded in his massive body of recorded work is a legacy that will continue to influence trumpeters and other jazz artists for generations to come.

Hubbard was born on April 7, 1938, In Indianapolis, Indiana. As a student and band member at Arsenal Technical High School, he demonstrated early talents on the tuba, French horn, and mellophone before eventually settling on the trumpet and flugelhorn. He was first introduced to jazz by his brother, Earmon, Jr., a piano player and a devotee of Bud Powell.

Hubbard’s budding musical talents caught the attention of Lee Katzman, a former sideman of Stan Kenton. Katzman convinced the young trumpeter to study at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music with Max Woodbury, the principal trumpeter of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

As a teenager, Hubbard worked and recorded with the Montgomery Brothers – Wes, Monk and Buddy. His first recording session was for an album called The Montgomery Brothers and Five Others. Around that same time, he also assembled his first band, the Jazz Contemporaries, with bassist (and manager) Larry Ridley, saxophonist/flutist James Spaulding, pianist Walt Miller and drummer Paul Parker. The quintet became recurring players at George’s Bar, the well known club on Indiana Avenue.

In 1958, Hubbard moved to New York at age 20 and quickly established himself as one of the bright young trumpeters on the scene, astonishing critics and fans alike with the depth and maturity of his playing. Within the first two years of his arrival in the Big Apple, he landed gigs with veteran jazz artists Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton and Eric Dolphy. He joined Quincy Jones in a tour of Europe that stretched…..

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