[Review] Freddie Hubbard: Goin’ Up (1961)

On his second session as a leader, Hubbard, Hank Mobley and Coltrane’s crew explore their soulful side.

Kronomyth 2.0: Rise and shine.

Freddie Hubbard’s sophomore session as a leader features a few John Coltrane associates (past and future) plus the smooth-as-butter Hank Mobley on tenor sax. It’s a different affair than his first, Open Sesame, with a more soulful approach that focuses less on speed (though there’s still plenty of that) and more on feel. Mobley is also a better match for Freddie than Tina Brooks; the way the pair interlock on the melodies for Blues for Brenda and Asiatic Raes is pure joy.

Goin’ Up includes two compositions from fellow horn player, Kenny Dorham, “Asiatic Raes” (which had appeared most recently on Sonny Rollins’ classic album, Newk’s Time) and the previously unrecorded Karioka. The first song sets the tone for the album’s melodic hard bop sound, while the latter would have felt more at home on Freddie’s frenetic first album. Hank Mobley also contributes two originals, The Changing Scene and A Peck a Sec. “The Changing Scene,” with its thoughtful blues mood, shows Hubbard fully capable of smoldering when he’s not playing like a man on fire.

Goin’ Up ends on a strong pair of tracks: the lovely I Wished I Knew (which gets my vote for the session’s standout track) and a Hubbard original, “Blues for Brenda.” While Hubbard and Mobley are the focal points, the rhythm section is top shelf. Philly Joe Jones can knock you over with a pair of brushes (as he does on “I Wished I Knew”), Paul Chambers (a man who needs no introduction to Coltrane fans) plays the perfect straight man on this session and McCoy Tyner is equally adept at finding the melody in a difficult song and the difficulty in a melodic one.

Hard bop aficionados will want to check out Goin’ Up just for the talent in attendance. Personally, I enjoy this album more than Hubbard’s first, although they’re very different records in some ways. I get the sense that Hubbard was less interested in showing what he could do on this session, and more focused on feeling the music. Some critics regard this as one of Hubbard’s best albums, but I’ve got a lot more listening to do before I make that assessment.

Original elpee version

A1. Asiatic Raes (Kenny Dorham) (6:43)
A2. The Changing Scene (Hank Mobley) (3:46)
A3. Karioka (Kenny Dorham) (6:12)
B1. A Peck a Sec. (Hank Mobley) (5:46)
B2. I Wished I Knew (Billy Smith) (7:45)
B3. Blues for Brenda (Freddie Hubbard) (6:49)

The Players

Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums), Hank Mobley (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano). Recording by Rudy Van Gelder.

The Pictures

Cover photo by Francis Wolff. Cover design by Reid Miles.

The Plastic

Released on mono elpee in May 1961 in the US (Blue Note, BLP 4056).

  1. Re-issued on stereo elpee in 1973 in the US (Blue Note, BST-84056).
  2. Re-released on remastered elpee and compact disc on June 22, 1990 in Japan (Blue Note/Toshiba, BN-4056).
  3. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in Japan (Blue Note, TOCJ-6575).
  4. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 1997 in the US (Blue Note, CDP 7243 8 59380 2 3).
  5. Re-released on 24-bit remastered compact disc on November 26, 1999 in Japan (Blue Note, TOCJ-9148).
  6. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on September 16, 2009 in Japan (EMI, TOCJ-8569).
  7. Re-released on 180g 45 rpm 2LP in 2011 in the US (Blue Note, MMBST-84056).
  8. Re-issued on 180g vinyl elpee on August 24, 2012 in Germany (Doxy, DOXY1).
  9. Re-packaged with Open Sesame, Hub-Tones and Ready for Freddie on 4-for-1 2CD in 2017 in the UK (Avid Jazz).

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