Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Jazz giant Freddie Hubbard dies

Freddie Hubbard
Hubbard made more than 300 records in his 50-year career

Influential jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard has died in Los Angeles, his manager has confirmed.

The 70-year-old, who played with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk, was regarded as one of the foremost hard-bop trumpeters in the US.

He won a Grammy in 1972 for crossover album First Light, which was recorded with Miles Davis' band members George Benson and Jack DeJohnette.

The star had been in hospital since suffering a heart attack in November.

Born Frederick Dewayne Hubbard in Indianapolis, the musician started out playing the bugle-like mellophone in his school band.

A year later, he moved into the trumpet section, having already begun to learn the instrument, which three of his siblings also played.

Trademark trill

After moving to New York in 1958, he recorded his first album, Open Sesame, and enjoyed a meteoric rise in jazz circles.

He hooked up with such jazz legends as Monk, Davis, Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins.

John Coltrane
Saxophonist John Coltrane played an influential role in Hubbard's career
Later, the star recalled playing with John Coltrane as one of the early highlights of his career.

"I met Trane at a jam session at Count Basie's in Harlem in 1958," he told the jazz magazine Down Beat in 1995.

"He said: 'Why don't you come over and let's try and practice a little bit together?'

"I almost went crazy. I mean, here is a 20-year-old kid practicing with John Coltrane.

"He helped me out a lot, and we worked several jobs together."

Eventually, Hubbard's own style - including a trademark trill known as a "shake" - became influential in itself.

I've played some things that I don't think too many cats can play that are alive today
Freddie Hubbard

"He influenced all the trumpet players that came after him," trumpeter Wynton Marsalis told the Associated Press news agency.

"Certainly I listened to him a lot. We all listened to him. He had a big sound and a great sense of rhythm and time and really the hallmark of his playing is an exuberance."

Hubbard played on some of the greatest jazz records of the 1960s, including Hancock's Maiden Voyage, Coleman's radically experimental Free Jazz, Coltrane's Ascension, and his own classic, Ready for Freddie.

But he enjoyed his greatest mainstream success with a run of solo albums in the early 1970s, including Red Clay, Straight Life and the Grammy-winning First Light.

His glossy tone, brilliant high register and bluesy, squeezed half-valve notes made him a close contender for Miles Davis' title as the era's greatest jazz trumpeter.

"I've played some things that I don't think too many cats can play that are alive today," he said last year as he promoted his last album, On The Real Side.

His career was threatened in the early 1990s when years of constant touring and recording led to a lip injury, after which he was only able to play on an occasional basis.

"I advise any young trumpeter not to do what I did because that style could be hazardous to your health," he said last year.

Hubbard is survived by his wife of 35 years, Briggie Hubbard, and his son, Duane.

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