By now the troubles Freddie Hubbard (pictured) has had with his lip have been reported extensively enough that fans know not to expect the bravura fireworks of his peak years. But they also know that they are going to see a legend surrounded by a crack outfit comprised of Hubbard’s peers and younger notables, revisiting his major contributions to the history of jazz through a parade of his classic compositions. Whatever Hubbard can give on top of that, by way of playing or reminiscing or just being there—being the one and only Freddie Hubbard—is gravy.
At this first set at Iridium, Hubbard’s playing was suffering from the exertions of the previous nights. Nevertheless, it proved to be an enjoyable set from an impressive band that included, in addition to Hubbard and his flugelhorn, trumpeter/organizer David Weiss, James Spaulding on alto; Craig Handy on tenor, Steve Davis on trombone, and the top-shelf rhythm section of pianist George Cables, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Joe Chambers.