A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.
This is the baddest copy of Baddest Hubbard we heard in our shootout. And by baddest, I mean THE BEST! It’s got tons of energy, a meaty bottom end, and amazing songs to boot. Red Clay, an AMAZING cut, sounds OUT OF THIS WORLD! The overall sound is HUGE and SPACIOUS. Hubbard was a master of funky jazz, and this pressing has the mastering that does his unique style justice.
Side one starts off with the perennial favorite Red Clay. The immediacy and texture are noticeable right away. For those of you who don’t know, this is one of the best (or is it “baddest”?) Hubbard tracks. The intro starts off with a stylized free-form jam, sounding like a bop-jazz band of old, then takes form and solidifies into a groove of mammoth proportions. Ron Carter’s bass playing is stellar and that fingers-on-frets sound is great on this copy. All of the horns are textured with plenty of bite and breath. There is fluffy tape-hiss which is a dead give-away for top end extension. Like many of our funky favorites, this one was eventually sampled for a popular hip-hop song. That may not mean much to you, but it definitely means that nice copies of this album get swiped up quickly by young DJs and producers.
The top end on side two is more natural, and clear, than any other copy we heard in our shootout. Nearly every pressing had some spit and grit but this copy was cut cleaner than all the rest. There is an excellent, warm midrange that’s RIGHT ON THE MONEY, with little to no smear, unlike the average copy. This side two is super spacious with less congestion than we usually here for these songs.
Most Freddie Hubbard albums are full of filler, so this great sounding greatest hits compilation is a good way to go for all but the most die-hard fans.
Also, check out Freddie’s blistering solo on Zanzibar from Billie Joel’s 52nd Street LP!