Sunday, April 23, 2017

Freddie Hubbard – Little Sunflower (Columbia)

Most Wanted! Freddie Hubbard – Little Sunflower (Columbia)

One of Soul/Jazz’s 7th wonder in terms of melody and arrangements… What made this ‘Little Sunflower’ so apart and vibrant is its construction upon regular breakdowns. The latter acting as as many punctuation signs injecting a new shuffle to its components. As if Hubbard‘s trumpet lines along with the strings were caressing Al Jarreau‘s vocal performance. The whole, therefore, displaying a rare emotion…

This version saw the light back in 1979 as a part of ‘The Love Connection’ LP. An album which featured luminaries such as Chick Corea (keyboards) and Ernie Watts (sax) among others. Strangely enough, Columbia only released it as a promo back then, adding to its rarity…

Sampled by many though. From Hip-Hop famous A Tribe Called Quest (‘The Love’) to French House producer Pépé Bradock (‘Deep Burnt’). But also Akabu (in other words, Joey Negro) along with Linda Clifford (‘Ride On The Storm’)…

Overview
– Born in 1938, Freddie Hubbard started playing the mellophone and trumpet in a school band at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, IN. Remembered for local works with Wes and Monk Montgomery, he relocated to New York City by the age of 20. There he would collaborate with countless Jazz celebrities such as Sonny Rollins or Quincy Jones. He soon after released his first album – ‘Open Sesame’, therefore opening his account with Blue Note.

Made famous in for playing in the Bebop, Hard Bop and post-Bop styles in the sixties, he scored his biggest successes on Creed Taylor‘s seminal CTI Records label with albums such as ‘Red Clay’, ‘First Light’ and ‘Sky Dive’.
He would be heavily criticised for commercialism though by the second half of the seventies. Be it for melting his sound with Soul and/or Funk. Not to mention for his cover version of Christopher Cross‘s ‘Ride Like The Wind’ or his featuring on Billy Joel‘s ’52nd Street’ album!

Hubbard got back under the spotlights in the 80’s though, with the following years seeing him touring all around the world.
He sadly died, aged 70 on Dec. 29, 2008 in Sherman Oaks, CA, further to a heart attack he suffered from a month before…

– Born in Milkwaukee, WI, Al Jarreau was the 5th of 6 children. Raised by a dad who was a Seventh-day Adventist Church minister and singer, and and a mom was a church pianist. He started singing with his family in church concerts and in benefits.

His regular use of scat singing, vocal percussion and vocal bass helped him to set up a unique identity. He scored one of his most vibrant performances on the re-recording of ‘Little Sunflower’. A track which Freddie Hubbard initially released as an instrumental on his 1967 ‘Backclash’ album.
Mostly remembered for 80’s gems such as ‘Roof Garden’, ‘We’re In This Love Together’, ‘Breakin’ Away’ and ‘Boogie Down’, he is the only vocalist in history to have scored Grammy Awards in 3 different categories (Jazz, Pop and R&B).

Al Jarreau sadly passed on Sun. Feb. 12, 2017, two weeks after being hospitalized due to exhaustion. He was 76.

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