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We worked gigs all over town, all the weddings and concerts, until I got busted on suspicion of burglary. The music is forever.” A friend named Lenny Benjamin, who was from the Bronx and wrote for the “Indianapolis Star,” told me he was going back to New York, and offered me a ride and a place to stay. For the first five days I didn’t come out of the house, I was so scared. I saw anything imaginable — robberies, cutups, shootups, a couple of attempted rapes. I met him through Miriam, who he really loved and looked after. Then he introduced me to Monk and said, “Thel, Thel, this is that little trumpet player I was telling you about who was coming from Africa,” and Monk stuck out his hand, a limp hand, and he went, ‘NEIGHHH…,” heh-heh-heh, and walked away. When I came back to the Jazz Gallery, he said, “Where are you going? When I got out of the Half Note, I got out of the cab, and I Coltrane and Mc Coy Tyner and Reggie Workman were waiting on the sidewalk for me. But I think only Miles was able to play in those dark, sleepy moods, and still keep you up. (four stars) The thing that struck me the most were the lush harmonies. It sounds like some of the constructs Max would play. (four stars) (Williams, drums; Wallace Roney, trumpet; Bill Pierce, saxophone; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Ira Coleman, bass) Whoever that was, it sounds like…there was something in the sound of the drums… I think the bass was aiming more for the kinds of harmonics that he could get out of the instrument, things that normally people wouldn’t try to get in the more traditional mainstream way, and out of his aim for harmonics that kind of projected his sense of rhythm, and consequently, melody. It would seem as though he would get the rhythm first…
Charlie Parker might come through, or James Moody, or Kenny Dorham. I’m surprised, because Tony usually plays with a lot more rhythmical complexity. Evan Parker-Barry Guy-Paul Lytton, “The Echoing Border Zones”, , Leo, 1994. They got great phonics, and very creative saxophone playing.I thought trumpet players weren’t able to express themselves as freely as saxophone players. The piano did a lot of long-metered playing against the up tempo of the drums. The piano playing sounded to me a little like Geri Allen. [Charles Moffett, Charnett and Kenny Garrett] Kenny Garrett came to mind, and I can hear the strength of the playing.Playing like a saxophone is harder on the chops, but it opens you up; saxophone isn’t so brassy and doesn’t attack your ear. Philly Joe was the first one who hired me to work at Birdland. Again, for me, even though they’re techincally proficient, I could never say that’s Michael… Of course, you can play fast, but you can play fast in what they call long-metered or an augmented style, which means that you play it twice as slow, and in that way the sound of the drums came through. It sounds like the kind of strength that Kenny Garrett plays.Maybe he wanted to play like that all the time; in California he invited me to his house, and the music was so weird his mother made him practice in the garage! One night he brought Bud Powell to sit in; the next thing I know, Sonny was coming by. I was going to say, it’s that kind of European style of total improvisation. Because those cats were intense, and they were dedicated, and they were thinking. Charles Moffett, w/ Kenny Garrett, Geri Allen, Charnett Moffett, “Sunbeam” , , Evidence, 1997/1994.Eric could play some Funk and get deep down and play some Blues, but he didn’t want to. He was a better musician than Ornette, but he didn’t have that swing that communicates. I stayed there about a year and a half, I met all the other musicians — Hank Mobley, Paul Chambers, Walter Davis. It’s very interesting, the kind of sounds that they were getting. That was a very interesting, like Middle-Eastern theme.
* * * During his lengthy prime, Freddie Hubbard embodied excellence in trumpet playing.