Jazz Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard Dies Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Freddie Hubbard has died at the age of 70. He collaborated with such greats as John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Hubbard had been hospitalized since a heart attack last month.
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Jazz Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard Dies

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Jazz Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard Dies

Jazz Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard Dies

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And as we're approaching the end of this year, we're remembering the great jazz player, Freddie Hubbard, who has died of complications from a heart attack. He was one of the most acclaimed jazz trumpeters of the 1960s. By the '90s, his career was in decline due to health problems, yet he made a comeback in the last years of his life. Freddie Hubbard died at the age of 70, and this morning, we have a remembrance from Howard Mandel.

HOWARD MANDEL: Freddie Hubbard was one of the most powerful and lyrical horn players of the past 50 years.

(Soundbite of jazz trumpet music)

MANDEL: He was born in Indianapolis and mentored by his neighbor, guitarist Wes Montgomery. Hubbard moved to New York in 1958 and quickly rose to prominence as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

(Soundbite of jazz trumpet music)

MANDEL: Freddie Hubbard had extraordinary chops, strong feeling and a progressive impulse. He recorded with some of the most forward-thinking jazz powers of the 1960s - John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman and Herbie Hancock, among them. Hubbard also brought his melodic experimental sound to more conventional sessions, such as Oliver Nelson's "Blues and the Abstract Truth." He described what he was trying to do to NPR in 2001.

(Soundbite of NPR's All Things Considered, August 11, 2001)

Mr. FREDDIE HUBBARD (Jazz Trumpeter): In that (unintelligible), I was changing the style of the trumpet. I was trying to play the trumpet like a saxophone - Instead of saying, dah, dah, du, du, di, di, di, do, I was saying, diddly, do, du, do, dah, do, wham, bam, be, playing more intervals. And I was trying to make those as long glissando runs, like trun, da, dun, dun, da, lun, da, da, da, da, da, and trumpet players don't do that.

(Soundbite of jazz trumpet music)

MANDEL: Hubbard was generally acknowledged as an influence on his instrument second only to Miles Davis. While Davis was always more famous, Hubbard's 1970s albums, such as "Red Clay" and "Straight Life," were commercially successful than Davis's iconoclastic output of the same period.

(Soundbite of jazz trumpet music)

MANDEL: Despite his popularity, or because of it, Freddie Hubbard was criticized for selling out in the later half of his career. He continued to tour the world, playing his horn until he split his lip in 1992. He did not take very good care of himself, and the lip never healed properly. Still, he did not rest. He recorded several comeback albums in the new millennium with the New Jazz Composers Octet, assisted by a second trumpeter.

Mr. HUBBARD: I'm not going to play that way again. And as far as giving up all the 30 choruses I used to play - and I used to play with such intensity, trying to play like Coltrane and play, you know, hard and long. I think now I have to dig down and play from my soul.

MANDEL: Maybe he believed he'd never play that way again, but he never stopped trying. The National Endowment for the Arts named Freddie Hubbard a jazz master in 2006. He released his final recording, "On the Real Side," just this past June. Freddie Hubbard died early Monday morning in Los Angeles. For NPR News, I'm Howard Mandel in New York.

(Soundbite of jazz trumpet music)

INSKEEP: It's Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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