Freddie Hubbard - "Keep Your Soul Together"

Freddie Hubbard • Keep Your Soul Together • 1973 • CTI Records 6036
Recorded October 5 and 23, 1973 at Englewood Cliffs, NJ

The Players:
Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet
Junior Cook - Tenor Saxophone
George Cables - Electric Piano
Aurell Ray - Guitar
Kent Brinkley - Bass
Ron Carter - Bass
Ralph Penland - Drums
Juno Lewis - Percussion

The Tracks:
A1. Brigitte
A2. Keep Your Soul Together
B1. Spirits Of Trane
B2. Destiny's Children

The Music:

This record is a sweet little gem that came towards the end of Freddie Hubbard's time with CTI Records (it would be the second to last studio album he would cut for the label). It tends to get overlooked in the trumpeter's CTI discography, as his earlier electric jazz outings for Creed Taylor's imprint are generally the one's that get the most attention. This is not surprising, as Red ClayStraight Life and First Light are all stone cold classics, but I like to think that without much fanfare Hubbard was hitting all the right notes towards the end of his time with the label. Keep Your Soul Together is full of everything there is to love about the best of the electric jazz that was taking over the genre in the early 1970's, it has moments of spacious beauty as well as that inventive full-tilt jamming that kept the music funky and creative. 

While Hubbard's trumpet work is the highlight of the record, the other star here is George Cables, whose spectacular work on the electric piano gives the record it's groove and allows for some amazing solo work by all present. The rest of the supporting cast may not be household jazz names, with Junior Cook on the tenor saxophone and Ron Carter on bass being the most well known, but the others - Aurell Ray on guitar, Kent Brinkley on bass and Ralph Penland on drums - are all more than capable of holding their own with one of jazz's legendary trumpet players.  

At this point in his career, Hubbard knows exactly what you can get out of jazz in an electrified setting, and he brings the other musicians along with him to enjoy the ride. The first side of the record is more mellow than the second, with the beautiful opening ballad "Brigitte" leading us to the more uptempo (but still subdued) title track. When you flip the record over, the real fun begins, with two fantastic Hubbard compositions, "Spirits of Trane" and "Destiny's Children," both of which are serious burners that move and groove and should prove to any doubters that these early seventies CTI sessions are important and vital jazz records.

The Vinyl:

I've got a CTI pressing from the 1970's (hard to say if it's "original"), which is in Very Good Plus condition for both the gatefold cover and vinyl (although the cover does have some wear to the corners) which I scored from Dusty Groove about 10 years ago. Like many records from this decade the vinyl is pretty thin, but it still has some decent audio quality to it. Since CTI titles from this era aren't particularly rare, and not as sought after as jazz from the 1950's and 1960's, you can score a copy in this condition (if not slightly better) for anywhere between $5 and $25 especially if you are shopping online. 

Freddie Hubbard, 1975

Freddie Hubbard, 1975