Freddie Hubbard died this morning in the Sherman Oaks district of Los Angeles. He was hospitalized there since he had a heart attack on November 26. Hubbard was 70.
Freddie Hubbard, the last great trumpet stylist and innovator in jazz, has been through a miserable few years. He failed to care for an infected split lip and attempted, with characteristic Hubbard bravado, to overblow through the problem. Surgery made it worse. He told me that royalties from his compositions have brought him a comfortable living, but that not being able to play well has kept him frustrated. For him there is agony in the solution, the dogged hard work to rebuild his embouchure. Although he knows that playing long tones saved other trumpeters, he said, “Man, that sh– is so boring.” Hubbard’s constitution and metabolism militate against boredom.