Freddie Hubbard released The Black Angel in the same year as the landmark Miles Davis album Bitches Brew. Its obvious Hubbard wanted to appeal to the emerging crossover rock/jazz crowd of the era. The presence of bop, however, still permeated Hubbard's playing, unlike Miles who had long since dropped the form. The opening Hubbard composition "Spacetrack" contains fiery avant garde interplay between Hubbard, James Spaulding on alto and Kenny Barron's electric piano. Thanks to Spaulding and bassist Reggie Workman, much of the playing here maintains intensity. The other Hubbard penned originals, "Gittin Down" is an urgent hard swinging boogaloo and the ballad "Eclipse" features Spaulding on flute and Barron on piano. "Coral Keys" written by Walter Bishop, Jr. and Barron's "Black Angel have a Latin tinge highlighted by Spaulding's soaring flute and the congas of Carlos "Patato" Valdes. An enjoyable session leaving the impression Hubbard was preparing to take a different musical direction.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Al Campbell