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Red Clay (CTI Records 40th Anniversary Edition)

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iTunes Review

Originally released in 1970, Red Clay is one of Freddie Hubbard's best albums, and is an undisputed classic from the exceptional early-‘70s CTI catalog. Fusing jazz, soul, funk, and a touch of the blues, the legendary trumpeter is joined by some of the best session players in the game, including Herbie Hancock on keys, Lenny White on drums, Ron Carter on bass, with Joe Henderson and Stanley Turrentine on saxophone. While not as trippy or rock oriented as Miles' Bitches Brew (released the same year), it is still a progression of style, pushing the envelope of jazz into new directions but without the superfluous side effects that plagued some artists in the oncoming fusion era. Produced by Creed Taylor, it sounds as original and exciting 40 years later as it did upon its release. Golden-era hip-hop fans will recognize several key samples (by A Tribe Called Quest, among others), and hardcore jazz heads will be especially amped up for a previously unreleased live version of the title track, an 18-minute epic with turns from George Benson, Johnny Hammond, and Billy Cobham.

Customer Reviews

Free Jazz without a single off note. Read this review for a true understanding of this record.

Let me tell you something.
I put this record on last night when I was finally shutting down and going to sleep. “Red Clay” was definitely already a favorite of mine, but here is what occurred… As the title track started, I was listening intently – waiting excitedly for that portentous bassline to kick in. Low and behold, it did, as it always does, along with the combination of the rest of the band that is somehow permanently capable of leaving me breathless. But not breathless in the limited sense that we tend to associate with music or art or video – I mean truly spirited away, on a sonic journey to which one is forced to pay full attention to. By the song’s close, I realize that I have barely moved a muscle in 12 minutes. I am literally clenching my blankets tight. I notice my face has involuntarily been wrought with expression for some time now. Man this is good.

Taking this into consideration, I try to loosen up so I can get back to falling asleep. But after the beautifully soulful “Delphia” I am again taken by the sheer perfection of “Suite Sioux”. I am telling you – as with the rest of the album – there is not a note out of place. I probably fall asleep sometime during “The Intrepid Fox,” which is also one of the most lively pieces on the album. The next morning though, I’ve got some time to sleep in, so staying in bed, I start the bonus track “Cold Turkey,” leading into the final unreleased live version of “Red Clay”. I am drifting in and out of some sort of sleep state, but at a point during the jam that makes up the meat of that song, I am shaken to full consciousness by the awe-inspiring power that is being emitted from my speakers. Unbelievably, this version, (recorded 6 months later at Southgate Palace with mostly different personnel) is actually BETTER than the original. This time without Herbie on the Rhodes, but adding Benson, Airto, and Cobham to tear through the rhythm section, there is so much energy released during this 18-minute volcanic eruption, so much pure joy – it is as if these cats are having more fun than they’ve ever had. It almost sounds as if they’re certain they will never have fun again.

This is it.
This is the reason we are all here.
Then, abruptly, that part right before 15 minutes rolls around, where we can hear the crowd going absolutely NUTS – and it is at this moment that I nearly shed a tear. And I’m not really sure why. Is it that this stuff is too faultlessly majestic for human consumption? Or am I just a hopeless, romantic nerd for music?
Whatever it is, I can’t be the only one to feel it. So please, I implore you, get your hands on this. It’s unfortunate they’ve never released the last two tracks in a physical format, because they are truly indispensable. So get them however you can, hearing all six tracks together is worth any amount of gold.
If you like soulful jazz, especially fusion, don’t keep living your life without this record.
If you’re doing it right, this album should shock your soul.

Oh oh.....says Freddie

Hubbard and Benson's best solo breaks on record?


Mid sixties cool jazz at its finest, most interesting!


Born: April 7, 1938 in Indianapolis, IN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the great jazz trumpeters of all time, Freddie Hubbard formed his sound out of the Clifford Brown/Lee Morgan tradition, and by the early '70s was immediately distinctive and the pacesetter in jazz. However, a string of blatantly commercial albums later in the decade damaged his reputation and, just when Hubbard, in the early '90s (with the deaths of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis), seemed perfectly suited for the role of veteran master, his chops started causing him serious troubles. Born...
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Top Albums and Songs by Freddie Hubbard

Red Clay (CTI Records 40th Anniversary Edition), Freddie Hubbard
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Oct 05, 2010

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