About the Bill Hubbard Orchestra
William C. (Bill) Hubbard was a professional musician, arranger, and band leader in Miami toward the end of the big band era. His father died in 1951, just before Bill started college, and Bill felt a duty to help support his mother and pay his way through school. A music major at the University of Miami, he made performing his source of income, running his own groups ranging from small jazz combos to 18-piece big bands, often featuring his signature vibraphone playing.
He worked closely with Don Rose, a trombonist, bassist, and arranger, whom he had met when they both were seniors in high school. Another colleague and influence was Fred Ashe, a University of Miami faculty member 16 years Bill’s senior. Bill and Don both studied arranging and composition in college, and Fred was already an accomplished arranger and big band leader in his own right.
The works of Don Rose, Fred Ashe, and Bill Hubbard, along with a few others, formed the Hubbard band’s repertoire of original arrangements of popular songs, entertaining audiences in South Florida through the 1950s and into the early ’60s, but eventually the economics of big bands couldn’t compete with smaller groups and the new popularity of rock and roll.
Don Rose stayed in the music industry and enjoyed success as an arranger and curator with the George Gershwin estate, notably producing an album that formed the basis of Woody Allen’s film Manhattan in the late 1970s. Fred Ashe died in 1966.
Bill Hubbard left the music business as a profession in the mid '60s but kept his instruments and library of music safely stored. His vibraphone was among the first musical sounds his sons Curt and Glenn knew, and in 1980, then living in Boone, North Carolina, Bill started another big band.
Initially intended as a community band for musical hobbyists and his middle-school-aged sons, Hubbard’s new group soon started booking paying gigs, providing an opportunity for another generation of musicians to gain professional experience performing a still-vital form of music. Curt and Glenn’s friend Matt Vance was among the other young players who cut their musical teeth in the ‘80s incarnation of Hubbard’s big band. Matt has since performed with some of the top musicians in the world and makes his living in the music business to this day but continues to credit Bill Hubbard as a mentor.
As early as 2005, Matt approached Curt and Glenn about putting together a band of professional musicians to resurrect Bill’s music library, finally recording the extensive catalog Bill had assembled over more than 30 years, including several arrangements never attempted by the ‘80s group, and a few possibly never heard at all. Conversations came and went until Curt and Matt neared their 50th birthdays in 2018, providing the final push needed to put the wheels in motion. A band of top-call musicians (and close musical friends) from around the state of Florida came together in June 2018 to record Bill’s book, honoring him with the album Where or When.
Bill Hubbard died in 1985 at the age of 52. His musical legacy has remained strong in subsequent years through the many young and not-so-young musicians he influenced, but few have actually heard his music since his death…until now. This album is a time machine – an opportunity to hear the work of a man who made music both a profession and a labor of love.