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By Doug Levine
Washington
31 December 2008 

Freddie Hubbard receives a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award at the NEA Jazz Masters Awards Concert in New York, 13 Jan. 2006
Freddie Hubbard receives a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award at the NEA Jazz Masters Awards Concert in New York, 13 Jan. 2006

Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard died Monday, Dec. 29 in Los Angeles, California, of complications from a recent heart attack. He was 70-years-old. The musician helped bridge the gap between be-bop and jazz fusion.

Freddie Hubbard's esteemed career combined raw talent and a little bit of luck. As a teenager, he worked with guitarist Wes Montgomery in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. Later, at age 20, Freddie moved to New York, and performed with some of the top names in jazz, from fellow trumpeter Miles Davis to John Coltrane and Quincy Jones.

Hubbard rose to new heights during a stint with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. His virtuosity caught the attention of jazz critic Leonard Feather who called him "one of the most skilled, original and forceful trumpeters of the 1960s."

Hubbard performed on more than 300 recordings, including his all-time best-seller, Red Clay. That, along with his Grammy-winning album, First Light, made him the one of the most popular artists on the famed fusion label CTI Records.

In 2006, Freddie Hubbard received the nation's highest jazz honor when he was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Despite health problems that plagued his trumpet playing, Freddie Hubbard continued to perform into 2008. In June, he appeared at New York's Iridium jazz club in support of his last album with the New Jazz Composers Octet,"On The Real Side.

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