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All-Analog 180g Vinyl LP of Freddie Hubbard’s Blue Spirits Mastered from the Original Master Tapes by Kevin Gray & Pressed at RTI: Reference-Caliber Blue Note Reissue Helmed by Joe Harley
The prodigious trumpeter Freddie Hubbard debuted on Blue Note in 1960 and produced an astounding run of recordings over the first half of the decade that culminated with Blue Spirits, which was the last of his ’60s studio albums for the label. This bluesy and spirited album presented five evocative Hubbard originals, each of which was given a richly textured arrangement for an ensemble that included a dynamic four-horn line-up. Drawn from two different sessions, the first date produced the gratifying opening track “Soul Surge” and the percolating “Cunga Black” with Hubbard joined by James Spaulding on alto saxophone and flute, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone, Kiane Zawadi on euphonium, Harold Mabern on piano, Larry Ridley on bass, Clifford Jarvis on drums, and Big Black on congas. A week later Hubbard returned to Van Gelder Studio with Spaulding, Zawadi, and a slightly different line-up including Hank Mobley on tenor saxophone, McCoy Tyner on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Pete LaRoca on drums. This second session rounded out the album with hard-charging performances of “Outer Forces” and “Jodo,” as well as the mesmerizing title track.
Blue Note Records’ acclaimed Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series continues in 2023. Launched in 2019 in honor of the label’s 80th Anniversary, the Tone Poet series is produced by audiophile legend Joe Harley and features all-analog, 180g audiophile vinyl reissues that are mastered from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio. Tone Poet vinyl is manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, and packaged in deluxe Stoughton Printing “Old Style” gatefold Tip-On jackets. The titles were once again handpicked by Harley and cover the crème de la crème of the Blue Note catalog along with underrated classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note umbrella including Pacific Jazz and United Artists Records. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version.
“The LPs are mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin at his incredible facility called Cohearent Mastering. We go about it in the exact same way that we did for so many years for the Music Matters Blue Note reissues. We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session.”
– Joe Harley
Freddie Hubbard, trumpet
James Spaulding, alto saxophone & flute
Joe Henderson / Hank Mobley, tenor saxophone
Kiane Zawadi, euphonium
Harold Mabern / McCoy Tyner, piano
Larry Ridley / Bob Cranshaw, bass
Clifford Jarvis / Pete LaRoca, drums
Big Black, congas