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Frederick Dwayne Hubbard, born April 7th, 1938, in Indianapolis, Indiana, was widely regarded as the most gifted jazz trumpeter of the post-bebop '60s and '70s. An exceptionally talented virtuoso performer, Hubbard's rich full tone is never lost, even when he plays dazzlingly fast passages. As one of the greatest hard bop trumpeters of our time. He is perhaps one of the greatest technical trumpet players ever to play in the jazz idiom and arguably the most influential.
Freddie moved to New York at the age of 20 and quickly astonished fans and critics alike with the depth and maturity of his playing. He worked with veteran jazz artists Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton, J.J. Johnson , Eric Dolphy, and Quincy Jones with whom he toured Europe. He was barely 22 when he recorded "Open Sesame," his solo debut for Blue Note Records (on the recommendation of Miles Davis).
In the early 1960's he did his first Blue Note collaboration with Wayne Shorter. He then joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messenger (replacing Lee Morgan). Freddie had quickly established himself as an important new voice in jazz. While earning a reputation as a hard-blowing young lion, he had developed his own sound, distancing himself from the early influence of Clifford Brown and Miles Davis and won Down Beat's "New Star" award on trumpet. Throughout the 60's he also played in bands led by others, including Max Roach.
In the 1970's he released the album "First Light," which won a Grammy Award. He later teamed up with the Miles Davis Quintet, and with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams and Ron Carter in the V.S.O.P. Quintet.
In the 80's Hubbard was again leading his own jazz groups, attracting very favorable notices for his playing at concert halls and festivals in the USA, Europe, and Japan, often in the company of Joe Henderson, playing a repertory of hard-bop and modal-jazz pieces. He also collaborated with fellow trumpet legend Woody Shaw for a series of albums for the Blue Note and Timeless labels.
However, being a virtuoso trumpet player does not come with such securities as health insurance – no matter how talented or hardworking you are. For years Freddie was covered by his wife's health insurance plan. In 2002, she lost her job, and a just a month after they lost their coverage, Freddie suffered congestive heart failure, and the two spent all their savings on medical bills. Because they reached out to the Jazz Foundation, we were able to help them out with their medical bills and pay their mortgage so they did not lose their home.
In December of 2008 Freddie passed away at the age of 70. When Freddie passed, the Jazz Foundation made sure he had a proper send-off and persuaded The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City to give us their space and service for his beautiful memorial. His wife Briggie and son Duane asked that a donation be made in Freddie's name to the Jazz Foundation of America, who took care of Freddie during times of illness, and that all those who loved Freddie help to make it possible for the JFA to continue helping great artists in their times of crisis.
"When I had congestive heart failure and couldn't work, the Jazz Foundation paid my mortgage for several months and saved my home! Thank God for those people."