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Freddie Hubbard Biography

Trumpet player and Indianapolis native Freddie Hubbard gained a reputation as a bebop and hard bop player, but also played on some of the most influential albums of the post bop era.  Born in 1938, Hubbard played the mellophone and trumpet in school before working under local legends Wes and Monk Montgomery. In 1958 he moved to New York and almost immediately became immersed with some of the city’s finest, including Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton, Eric Dolphy, J. J. Johnson, and Quincy Jones. Hubbard made three well received albums under his own name, Open Sesame, Goin’ Up, and Hub Cap before releasing his most famous and influential album in 1961 entitled Ready for Freddie.

With his reputation flourishing, Hubbard cemented his place in the Jazz community by playing on albums such as Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, and Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil. Despite never fully embraced the genre., he also contributed vastly to the 1960s Free Jazz movement by playing on genre defining albums such as Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch, and John Coltrane's Ascension.

The most successful period for Freddie Hubbard occurred in the early 1970s, when he released 4 critically acclaimed albums entitled, Red Clay, Straight Life, Sky Dive, and First Light, which won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Group Performance. Though Hubbard’s work in the late 1970s was panned by critics for being overly commercial, Hubbard continued to impress audiences and other musicians alike. By the 1980s he was a popular mainstay on the Jazz Festival scene, performing across the United States, as well as abroad in Europe and Japan with legends such as Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, and Sonny Fortune, amongst many others.

In the early 1990s, Hubbard suffered an upper lip injury, which he did not give the proper time to heal before continuing to tour. After becoming infected, the injury forced Hubbard to take significant time off to heal. Although he could not play with the same force he once did in his prime, Hubbard adapted his style and was still more than capable of captivating audiences with individual style and powerful grace that made him one of the most influential Jazz trumpeters in history.