Freddie Hubbard – Straight Life

More Freddie Hubbard

More Jazz Recordings Featuring the Trumpet

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Straight Life is a great album for anyone who wants to hear some well recorded, seriously adventurous jazz. We freely admit that side one is fairly “out there,” but side two balances it out with much more accessible, melodic material. A wonderfully sensitive and emotional version of Here’s That Rainy Day closes out the side with George Benson proving to be an especially sympathetic accompanist on guitar.  

By the way, if you don’t have a hot copy of Red Clay, get one. It’s some of the best funky jazz ever recorded. No collection should be without it.

Sonic Issues

Smear. It’s by far the most common problem with the copies we played. When the transient bite of the trumpet is correctly reproduced, maintaining its full-bodied tone and harmonic structures, you know you have a very special copy of Sky Dive (or First Light or Red Clay, etc., etc.). When the sound is blurry, thick, veiled, dull or slow, you have what might be considered something more like the average copy.

Soul Jazz Fusion

What the best sides of this killer Five Star album from 1971 have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1971
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the horns, saxes, keyboards, guitars, drums and percussion having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we think that should make a good start.

Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

The Players and Personnel

Joe Henderson – tenor saxophone
Herbie Hancock – electric piano
George Benson – guitar
Ron Carter – double bass
Jack DeJohnette – drums
Richard Landrum – drums, percussion
Weldon Irvine – tambourine

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Straight Life

Side Two

Mr. Clean
Here’s That Rainy Day

AMG Review

Recorded between trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s better-known classics Red Clay and First Light, Straight Life is actually arguably Hubbard’s greatest recording. Joined by an all-star group that includes tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, keyboardist Herbie Hancock, guitarist George Benson, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, Hubbard is frequently astounding on “Straight Life” (check out that introduction) and “Mr. Clean,” constructing classic solos. The very memorable set is rounded off by the trumpeter’s duet with Benson on a lyrical version of the ballad “Here’s That Rainy Day.”