- Released: June 14, 2011
- Label: Masterworks
Down Beat - 12/97, p.944 stars (out of 5)
- "...a much-awaited jazz-funk foray...sounds as ferocious today as it did in 1970..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 6/02, p.125
"...A rigorous purveying of muscular 2-chord, hard-bop-to-light-fusion improvisations over frantic boogaloo beats..."
- 1.Straight Life
- 2.Mr. Clean
- 3.Here's the Rainy Day
Personnel: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn); Joe Henderson (saxophone); Herbie Hancock (piano); George Benson (guitar); Ron Carter (bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums); Weldon Irvine (tambourine); Richie Landrum (percussion).
Producer: Creed Taylor.
Reissue producer: Didier C. Deutsch.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on November 16, 1970. Includes liner notes by Steve Futterman.
Digitally remastered by Tom Ruff (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
Personnel: Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn); George Benson (guitar); Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone); Herbie Hancock (piano); Jack DeJohnette (drums); Weldon Irvine (tambourine); Richie Landrum (percussion).
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (11/16/1970).
Photographer: Chuch Stewart.
This is a remarkable and often overlooked album by one of the finest and most innovative trumpet players of the '60s and '70s. Steeped deeply in funk, Hubbard brings his bright tone and evocative, mercurial playing to the post-BITCHES BREW soundscape of electrified instruments, Latin percussion, complex polyrhythms, and "free" blowing focused on texture and atmosphere. STRAIGHT LIFE charts waters different from Davis' masterpiece, however. Whereas BITCHES BREW is a dark, ominous journey into a jungle of rhythm clusters and tonal coloring, Hubbard's work is sparer, cleaner, and characterized by catchy, almost pop-like themes.
STRAIGHT LIFE is much more than a mere groove-fest, though, as the top-notch players (including Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and a young George Benson on guitar) unfurl formidable chops and vibrant backing throughout. The first two tracks, Hubbard's title track and Weldon Irvine's "Mr. Clean," are lengthy, soulful workouts whose propulsive qualities and buoyancy are contrasted by the third track, the artist's delicate and gorgeous flugelhorn treatment of "Here's That Rainy Day." Taken together, the cuts on STRAIGHT LIFE are musically sophisticated, stirring, and eminently groovy, making this "soul-jazz" of the highest order.