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Without a Song:
Live in Europe 1969

Blue Note 50999 6 97093 2 6




  1. Without a Song [11:05]
  2. The Things We Did Last Summer [11:23]
  3. A Night in Tunisia [10:36]
  4. Blues by Five [9:47]
  5. Body and Soul [10:08]
  6. Space Track [12:07]
  7. Hub-Tones [4:38]

Freddie Hubbard, Trumpet
Roland Hanna, Piano
Ron Carter, Bass
Louis Hayes, Drums

Tracks 1&7 recorded on December 13, 1969 at Royal festival Hall, London, England. Tracks 2-4 recorded on December 14, 1969 at Colston hall, Bristol, England. Tracks 5&6 recorded in early December 1969 in Germany and remixed in 1970 at A&R Studios, New York City, New York, USA.

This a must have disc for all jazz fans, trumpet lovers and, above all, admirers of the legendary Freddie Hubbard. It's often said that the best jazz is never recorded and how true that is in so many cases. However, it is exceptions that prove the rules and this is one of those! The saying comes from the fact that invariably it is live jazz, with the reactions from the audience sparking the musicians on to even greater feats, which is rarely recorded, by comparison with the often rather sterile atmosphere of the recording studio. This record has that feeling of intimacy between performer and audience, despite the enormous size of the venues by comparison with the special nature of small clubs where ceilings are lower and musicians and audience members are often very close to each other and where, sometimes, even greater examples of musical alchemy are conjured up.

Freddie is playing on this disc arguably as part of the greatest quartet he ever put together, each band member a truly gifted craftsman in his field. That the music sounds as fresh as it does after 40 years is testament to their art. Every tune is a wonderful jazz great but A Night in Tunisia is made extra special by a superbly blistering drum solo from Louis Hayes. Freddie takes the tune Blues by Five by the scruff of the neck and produces some exceptional improvisatory flights of musical fancy, even for him, which are then tempered by a cool Roland Hanna and some beautiful bass from Ron Carter.

The first two tracks are fine examples of ballads and receive beautiful treatment at the hands of these masters, as does Body and Soul. The last two tracks show Freddie as composer as well as soloist confirming that there's nothing he can't do in musical terms. All in all a disc to enjoyed and cherished over and over and over again.

Steve Arloff

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