McCoy Tyner / Freddie Hubbard Quartet: Live At Fabrik, Hamburg 1986

Previously unissued recording has the Tyner and Hubbard band in full-on hard-bop mode, with Avery Sharpe on bass and Louis Hayes on drums

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The recording of this post-bop performance in Hamburg hasn’t seen the light of day until now. Although the album cover identifies the artists as the Tyner / Hubbard Quartet the band was actually booked and billed as the McCoy Tyner Trio with Hubbard as a guest.

Tyner’s rhythm section comprised Avery Sharpe on bass and Louis Hayes on drums. The pianist and trumpeter had played together a few years earlier, not least on three of Hubbard’s LPs – Open Sesame and Goin’ Up in 1960 and Ready For Freddie in 1961. Both Tyner and Hubbard were 58 at the time of this recording.

The set is spread across two CDs giving eight numbers stretching over two hours. The second track is an announcement from Tyner apologising for the band’s delayed start. Half the numbers are Tyner originals. Hubbard contributes one composition and the remaining three are rearrangements of standards: Body And Soul, Round Midnight and What Is This Thing Called Love. All the songs are taken at a fast lick.

Hubbard is typically triumphant on trumpet with his signature high notes and pyrotechnics dominating proceedings. He switches to flugelhorn on occasion and lays out in the leader’s trio piece, Latino Suite. Tyner is forceful throughout the album with much emphasis on rapid, heavy vamping in the lower register. Avery is powerful on over-amplified bass and Hayes is explosive on drums, throwing bombs all over the place.

It’s all exciting stuff but there’s no let up. Indeed the tracks are so long – Neo-Terra is almost 26 minutes – that I was often hoping for them to finish so as to get some respite. The audience though are clearly enthralled judging from their increasingly ecstatic applause. Their approval seems undiminished by the sometimes uneven sound balance and echoey tone – although that may be factor of the recording, not evident in the venue that night.

Discography
CD1: Inner Glimpse; Announcement; Latino Suite; Body And Soul; Neo-Terra (67.18)
CD2: Island Birdie; Round Midnight; Blues For Basie; What Is This Thing Called Love (59.55)
Hubbard (t, flh); Tyner (p); Avery Sharpe (b); Louis Hayes (d). Hamburg, 18 June 1986.
Jazzline Classics D77100