On Losing Freddie Hubbard, Celebrator of Red Clay

I have the internet for the first time in nearly a month and I need to get back into the habit of writing. I still don't know how substantive of a post this will be but I just know I had to say something about the loss of Freddie Hubbard.

I can't be as detailed or length as Ethan Iverson was today on this great man's work, but I do feel that I can say how much "Red Clay" meant for me.

Every now and then, you run across a song that just drives you crazy. You hear it once and it gets stuck in your head and you miss the DJ say who it was on the radio. You ask people about it and you scramble the internet and you still can't figure out who it is. When I was 8, Stanley Clarke, Najee, and others did this for me with their cover of Miles Davis's "All Blues" until I found it ten years later and purchased the album on Amazon. Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" only got stuck in my head for maybe a year. I bought that album at an FYE once I figured out what it was. It was most certainly not a regrettable decision.

Hearing that album always manages to scratch a very specific itch for me. It's probably one of the best basslines in jazz. The live rendition on the newer release is a display of George Benson's prowess (as if there were ever a doubt). The whole album has the 70s vibe that is definitive of the period and warms my retro heart every time I hear it. It's just a great album crafted by a great man. And yet, it's most all I know about him.

The funny thing about jazz (or any genre of music, really) and youth is that you always feel like you're behind. Artists continue to create and there's a long, rich history that precedes you. I'm young and I know there's so much I have yet to hear and learn. So I feel sort of bad that I can't talk about more than the most common Hubbard album, but I know that one album meant a lot to me.

We lost Hubbard. We lost Hubbard some days after we lost Eartha Kitt. We lost Hubbard and Kitt some months after Issac Hayes. An artistic era is fading out and I look with trepidation and what follows it. Big, varied shoes to fill, I say.


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