Format: LP, Vinyl
‘Hub Cap’ was Hubbard’s third Blue Note album all recorded within ten months of his label debut. It is the first album where he wrote more than one track, infact four. The recording date was 9th April 1961. The album features a sextet with Jimmy Heath on tenor and Julian Priester on trombone. The rhythm section sees fellow Jazz Messenger Cedar Walton on piano, drummer Philly Joe Jones and bassist Larry Ridley. First up is the bristling Hard Bop of ‘Hub Cap’ (Freddie’s nickname, a truly outstanding tune with Freddie’s thunderous trumpet full on, powerful yet evocative. ‘Randy Weston’s ‘Cry Me Not’ is a moody ballad, written specifically for this album and superbly arranged by Melba Liston. It gives Hubbard the chance to show a different side of his musical personality, using space and subtlety rather than brute strength. Hubbard’s ‘Luana’s, dedicated to his niece, swings hypnotically; its gorgeous melody has an endearing quality that he delivers with customary aplomb. Jimmy Heath also delivers a solo of innate soulfulness, whilst Cedar Walton’s rhythmic inflections are captivating. The strutting ‘Osie Mae, another Hubbard original is equally spellbinding. The head nodding ‘Osie Mae’ is another Hubbard masterpiece with Hubbard introducing the sumptuous melody and is followed by Heath, Priester and then by Walton’s fine inflections ably supported by Philly Joe Jones’ swing. The tempo heats up further on Cedar Walton’s fiery ‘Plexus’. Julian Priester is blowing a storm on this one. Cedar sustains that momentum and then intensifies it. Freddie pays homage to his pianist brother on the silky ‘Earmon Jr’. ‘Hub Cap’ is the first truly great album that the trumpeter recorded. Very much in Hard Bop territory, it resembles that Jazz Messengers sound, a collective whom he was to join later in 1961. The compositions also show a progression, which elevates ‘Hub Cap’ several notches.