Two of my absolute favorite jazz trumpet players of all time are Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw. I can listen to them for hours on end and never get tired of their playing. In 1985, they teamed up for an album on the Blue Note label entitled Double Take. If I had a nickel for every time I have listened to that album, I would have a lot of nickels for sure. Freddie plays trumpet and flugelhorn, while Woody plays trumpet on the entire album. Detroit native Kenny Garrett plays alto saxophone and flute, and the rhythm section on the record is the great Mulgrew Miller on piano, Carl Allen on drums and Cecil McBee on bass.
In 1985 the technology of the recording industry was in a state of flux. New albums were being released both on vinyl records and cassette tapes, and the manufacturing of compact discs was in its infancy. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, and there was no such thing as Google. Vinyl records were beginning their exit from the commercial market, and some great music could be purchased at a bargain price on vinyl. That is how I got my first copy of Double Take.
The album is remarkable because the two great musicians don’t compete with each other, but work collaboratively and in the most satisfying musical way. So many times when you get a couple of trumpet players together, things become a competition of flashy licks and high note spectacles where the musicality suffers. Freddie and Woody never stop playing ideas, great, interesting musical ideas, and the result is a great record. They pay respect to some of the great trumpet players that have come before them, playing tunes on the album composed by Clifford Brown, Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham and Lee Morgan. I think I wore out a needle on my turntable just playing the Clifford Brown tune “Sandu” over and over.
Two years later, in 1987, Blue Note saw fit to record the two trumpeters again, and this time the resulting album was named The Eternal Triangle. It featured the same lineup of players, with Ray Drummond substituting on bass. This time the name of the album came from a tune written by Sonny Stitt, which Freddie and Woody play on the record. Again, I purchased the album on vinyl record, and listened to it repeatedly. I made bootleg copies of each album onto cassette tape and listened to them in the car. I listened to them on a Sony Walkman, played them on my tower speakers attached to the hi-fi, and never got tired of the bluesy, straight-ahead, swinging jazz sound.
Sadly, I missed getting the albums on compact disc when they were released together as The Complete Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw Sessions in 1995. For a long time, the albums were just out of print and unavailable. When my music collection moved to a computer hard drive of digital files, these two albums were left behind for a time. I have to say it left a big hole in my collection of jazz albums, but eventually fortune smiled and saw fit to release them on iTunes and on Amazon Music. I was very happy to welcome them to my digital collection. The albums are also available on Spotify, and still, I have found I never get tired of listening to them. Now if anyone wants a used copy of the original Star Wars Trilogy on VHS tape or DVD, please contact me. I skipped the Blu-Ray versions, but fear I will soon be sucked into owning digital movie copies. How many more times do I have to buy these things?