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Picks and Pans Review: Life Flight

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Freddie Hubbard

Three-quarters of this album is unspectacular but clean, solid, small-group jazz paced by Hubbard, the Indianapolis-born trumpet player who first began recording in the ’50s. That other 25 percent, however, is something for the textbooks. Drummer Idris Muhammad and electric bassist Wayne Braithwaite lay down—and into—a sinuously funky beat while Hubbard, saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, guitarist George Benson and keyboardist Larry Willis work out variations on A Saint’s Homecoming Song by George Johnson of the Brothers Johnson. There’s more than enough inspiration to go around, though Benson, all musician and no pop singer in this case, seems particularly energized. While the track runs for more than 11 minutes, it’s over far too soon. (Blue Note)