How Freddie Hubbard Mixes Jazz and Rock

hubbardAs a musician, some of the most interesting musical pieces and moments within pieces come from the unique blending of various musical styles into a single piece, or even a single phrase.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from trumpeter Freddie Hubbard.

Hubbard became famous primarily as a jazz trumpet player, and appears on some pretty famous albums, along with other jazz icons like Art Blakey, Max Roach, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and his own group, The Freddie Hubbard Quintet.

One of his most famous pieces is a tribute to another legendary trumpeter, Clifford Brown, who died tragically in a car accident while still in his 20s.

Here’s Freddie Hubbard playing the now standard tune, I Remember Clifford:


See his full discography here.

Freddie Hubbard and Billy Joel

In the late 60s and early 70s, Hubbard began experimenting with a variety of different musical styles, including the blending of traditional jazz elements with rock tunes.

The best example of this is his collaboration with Billy Joel on the 52nd Street album.

Hubbard shines out across the album with a number of great jazz solos, and the band in turn opens up the form of the song to allow for the extended quasi-improvised sections.

Listen to the blend of styles in this recording of Zanzibar:

Keith Jarrett’s Piano

keith jarrettIn my opinion, Keith Jarrett is absolutely one of the best jazz pianists of all time, and even ranks in the top handful of top jazz musicians ever to walk the stage.

His performances emanate his musicianship and feeling, in a way that can’t be conveyed on a simple audio recording.

While many people feel that Jarrett’s on stage demeanor, wherein he dances around the piano and sings scat as he improvises his solo lines, is distracting, I think it’s evidence of one of the greatest performers of the 20th century.

To me, it is impossible to listen to Jarrett without becoming enraptured in the raw musicality of his lines. His ability to move from complex runs and harmonic constructions to simple lines any beginner could play is flawless, and the juxtaposition of these two elements is a huge part of what makes his solos so magical.

Check out the video below to see for yourself!