Freddie Hubbard - "Straight Life" CTI (Nov 11, 1970)
Pretty much everybody seems to know about "Red Clay"; but just in case you don't know about it's heavier, harder, funkier follow-up...this is "Straight Life". Switching out the CTI stable cats with tougher outsiders Joe Henderson and Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard reaches out further than Red Clay with 2 very long, very funky cuts along with an atmospheric closing cover of "Here's That Rainy Day". The title cut spans 17 minutes that you wish would never end: from the uplifting melodic head, to the soaring solos from Henderson, Hubbard, Hancock and Benson
over a simmering, relentless groove from Jack DeJohnette and Ron Carter. Weldon Irvine's "Mr. Clean" is darker, slightly slower and grooves just as hard; clocking in over 13 minutes with the composer driving the group on tambourine. Essential listening from the beginnings of a burgeoning era with all the right players. The cd issues from 1997 is one of the few CTI digital releases that gets it right form the original Rudy Van Gelder tapes, and there is also a 40th anniversary edition true to the original!