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: