Friday, June 12, 2009

CD of the Day - "Freddie Hubbard: Liquid Love"

CD of the Day
Freddie Hubbard: "Liquid Love" (Columbia/Wounded Bird) 2009
CD Release Date in the USA: June 9, 2009

First ever CD reissue, thanks to the wise guys at the Wounded Bird label, of FH's 1975 LP for Columbia. The original cover art is reproduced, but there are no bonus tracks nor liner notes. "Yesterday Thoughts" and the title track "Liquid Love" sound like a perfect soundtrack to my second trip to Heland.
Produced by Freddie Hubbard, Co-Produced by Mike Levy
Arranged by Freddie Hubbard & George Cables
Featuring: George Cables, Ray Parker, Carl Burnett, LA-based Brazilian percussion master Mayuto Correa (miscredited Myuto), Carl Randall, Jr., Chuck Rainey, Al Hall, Spider Webb, Buck Clark, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Henry Franklin, Ian Underwood et al.
Here are some insightful comments borrowed from my dear friend Doug Payne's "Sound Insights" blog:

Liquid Love (1975): CTI provided Freddie Hubbard with several crossover opportunities, one of which, "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" from 1971's First Light, even earned him a Grammy Award. But Liquid Love aims at some sort of crossover on Hubbard's own terms, something more of a "black music for black people" thing that Miles Davis wanted for On The Corner. This is the first of Hubbard's own albums that bears his own name as producer.

Even the arrangements are from Hubbard or his pianist, George Cables. No orchestra here, but a lot of L.A. studio musicians are meant to either toughen up or soul-up the proceedings. The LP's odd programming finds the crossover material on side one - an odd-choice cover of Maria Muldaur's 1974 hit "Midnight at the Oasis" presages Miles's turn toward Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" a decade later, Hubbard's blaxploitation-like "Put It In The Pocket" (the album's single release) and Cables's rather indistinct "Lost Dreams," which the pianist revived on a 1991 Steeplechase CD - and Hubbard's more obvious menu on side two: the almost R&B take of "Liquid Love," harking back to Hubbard's Atlantic period, Benny Golson's "Yesterday's Thoughts" and Hubbard's own "Kuntu."

The thirteen-minute "Kuntu," which Hubbard recorded live the month before on his Japan-only album Gleam, is the album's centerpiece, with Hubbard electrifying his horn - still sounding like no one else but him! - and good, long solos from Carl Randall, Jr. (?) on sax and Buck Clark or Myuto (sic: Mayuto)Correa (?) on congas. People either love or hate the fishy illustration on the cover of Liquid Love. Famed designer Storm Thorgerson thinks it's one of the 100 best album covers of all time. I like it too - particularly the awesome typography - but it's unlike any other cover in Freddie Hubbard's discography, and maybe in the history of recorded sound.

(ad printed in DownBeat mag at the time of the original LP release in 1975)

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