Considered by many to be among the top echelon of jazz trumpeters, Freddie Hubbard is at a career peak during these live performances, recorded with two different groups during several 1980 sets at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco. The core group includes pianist Billy Childs and bassist Larry Klein, with either Eddie Marshall or Sinclair Lott on drums. Hubbard's take-no-prisoners attitude is apparent in a power-packed performance of his "The Intrepid Fox" (adding trombonist Phil Ranelin and tenor saxophonist David Schnitter), though the spotlight is on the leader, aside from a brief feature for Lott. Childs switches to Fender Rhodes for Hubbard's driving bossa nova "First Light," while "Happiness Is Now" is a funky affair. Hubbard was underrated as a ballad interpreter, though his poignant take of Michel Legrand's "The Summer Knows" (from the film Summer of '42) is a brilliant showcase for him on flügelhorn. One of the great thrills is Hubbard's first known recording of "Giant Steps," with the leader tackling it with his sextet at a fast tempo, showcasing tenor saxophonist Hadley Caliman and Childs, as well. This well-packaged, previously unissued music from producer Todd Barkan's (the owner of the long defunct club) personal archives, includes detailed liner notes by several contributors and lots of period photographs.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden