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LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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Blue Spirits (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
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A Blue Note essential, Blue Spirits is part of the Blue Note 75 anniversary vinyl reissue campaign, featuring 100 titles. Key to the initiative is high quality audio at affordable prices. Blue Note launched a partnership with indie record stores called Blue Note Authorized Dealers which supports the Blue Note LP reissues.
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According to the liner notes, this was the first time Hub had written for four horns. Well, if he was inexperienced, it certainly doesn't show. All of the music is stellar. As on Ready for Freddie, I really enjoyed the addition of the euphonium. It's just such an interesting sounding instrument, somewhere in between a trombone and a tuba. Big Black's congas on "Soul Surge" and "Cunga Black" are another welcome tonal variation, adding a Latin feel without losing any of the jazz groove.
All of the musicians acquit themselves admirably. James Spaulding is given quite a bit to do on this album, as he contributes flute and alto sax. Hank Mobley is excellent as always on the selections he plays on and I enjoyed Joe Henderson's tenor work as well. Both drummers are equally as solid, keeping smooth grooves going.
Of the two bonus tracks, "The Melting Pot" is quite good with a great rhythm and playing from all involved. "True Colors" is a bit more experimental, not really my cup of tea at this point. It's not that its not good, its just a little more disjointed than I would prefer and there doesn't seem to be a theme or groove to hold on to. If this is what's considered avant guard, then I don't think I'm quite at the stage of my jazz education where I can appreciate it.
All in all, another beautiful release by Freddie Hubbard.