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Ready For Freddie
LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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Ready For Freddie (Rudy Van Gelder Remaster Edition)
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Ready For Freddie by jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard features Grammy®-winner Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, McCoy Tyner on piano, Art Davis on bass, Elvin Jones on drums and Bernard McKinney on euphonium. Released in 1961, Ready For Freddie, Hubbard's fourth album includes his most well-known compositions, 'Birdlike' and 'Crisis.' This hard bop essential will be re-released as part of the overall Blue Note 75th anniversary vinyl reissue campaign spearheaded by current Blue Note Records President, Don Was.
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I bought it on vinyl. The LP is perfectly flat, no pops or surface noise, and the sound quality is very good, warm and full (though not quite audiophile-level).
As an occasional player of euphonium/baritone horn, I've always felt that this instrument deserves a more prominent place in jazz. It's good to hear some nice solos from McKinney on these tracks, as well as his smooth blend with the three-horn front in the spot usually reserved for trombone.
There are two alternate takes in this collection. Both sound fine, but I tend to leave alternate takes off my playlist unless there's some compelling reason to include them. Excluding the two alternates, the album's playing time is just under 42 minutes.
The front insert includes Nat Hentoff's original liner notes, some pictures from the recording session, and notes added for this 2003 reissue. (Note: The recording date on the CD's back insert is wrong; the correct date is in the front insert booklet.)
I haven't sampled all of Hubbard's early work, so I can't confidently say this is his best album, as others have done. But it is a brilliant piece of work that deserves a spot in any jazz collection.