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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
This is one of the best-known Hank Mobley recordings, and for good reason. Although none of his four originals ("Workout," "Uh Huh," "Smokin'," "Greasin' Easy") caught on, the fine saxophonist is in top form. He jams on the four tunes, plus "The Best Things in Life Are Free," with an all-star quintet of young modernists -- guitarist Grant Green, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones -- and shows that he was a much stronger player than his then-current boss Miles Davis seemed to think. [Some reissues add a version of "Three Coins in the Fountain" from the same date, originally released on Another Workout.] © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1961 | Blue Note

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

Often overlooked, perhaps because he wasn't a great innovator in jazz but merely a stellar performer, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley was at the peak of his powers on Soul Station. Recorded with a superstar quartet including Art Blakey on drums, Paul Chambers on bass, and Wynton Kelly on piano, it was the first album since Mobley's 1955 debut to feature him as a leader without any other accompanying horns. The clean, uncomplicated sound that resulted from that grouping helps make it the best among his albums and a peak moment during a particularly strong period in his career. Mobley has no problem running the show here, and he does it without being flashy or burying the strong work of his sidemen. The solidness of his technique means that he can handle material that is occasionally rhythmically intricate, while still maintaining the kind of easy roundness and warmth displayed by the best players of the swing era. Two carefully chosen standards, "Remember" and "If I Should Lose You," help to reinforce that impression by casting an eye back to the classic jazz era. They bookend four Mobley originals that, in contrast, reflect the best of small-group composition with their lightness and tight dynamics. Overall, this is a stellar set from one of the more underrated musicians of the bop era. © Stacia Proefrock /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1960 | Blue Note Records

From the first moment when Art Blakey comes crashing in to establish a kinetic Latin groove on the eponymous opening song, Hank Mobley's Roll Call explodes with energy. The first horn heard here is actually Freddie Hubbard's trumpet, foreshadowing the prominent role that he would have in the sound of this album. The quintet all work together flawlessly here, but Hubbard particularly shines as he plays off of Mobley's fluid riffs and carries more than a few lines himself, sounding particularly athletic and effortless on the closing track, "The Breakdown." Mobley's performance throughout the recording is stylish without being restrained, and the strength of his songwriting shines on five of the album's six songs. A warm, laid-back, sweet version of "The More I See You" is also included, with a muted Hubbard sounding very much like Miles Davis. It is a nice complement to this collection of originals, which has often been overshadowed by Mobley's other late-'50s and early-'60s work but is definitely deserving of some attention of its own. © Stacia Proefrock /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1965 | Blue Note Records

Hank Mobley was a perfect artist for Blue Note in the 1960s. A distinctive but not dominant soloist, Mobley was also a very talented writer whose compositions avoided the predictable yet could often be quite melodic and soulful; his tricky originals consistently inspired the young all-stars in Blue Note's stable. For this CD, which is a straight reissue of a 1965 session, Mobley is joined by trumpeter Lee Morgan, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Billy Higgins (a typically remarkable Blue Note lineup) for the infectious title cut, three other lesser-known but superior originals, plus Wayne Shorter's "Venus Di Mildew." Recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 12, 1958 | Blue Note

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Although his is a rather less charming sound than that of a John Coltrane or a Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley is still a master of the tenor saxophone. The famous critic Leonard Feathers, the author of many album liner notes, would describe him "the middleweight champion of tenor sax". With daring solos, often of pleasing complexity, this Georgian who grew up in New Jersey was one of the great standard bearers for that unique hard bop that rang out on several Blue Note albums in the 50s and 60s. It was on this famous label that Mobley, a marathon runner of the recording studio, put out thirty records or more. On this record in particular, the then-27-year-old jazzman is accompanied by Bill Hardman on the trumpet, Curtis Porter on the saxophone, Sonny Clark on the piano, Paul Chambers on double bass, and Art Taylor on drums. A flawless session (as were almost all the Blue Note productions of that era), recorded in a single day (23 June 1957) throughout which Hank Mobley (one year on from leaving the Jazz Messengers, which he had founded with Horace Silver and Art Blakey) carefully ensures that his former bandmates stay focussed on a soothing swing. Across the following decade, with masterpieces like Soul Station (1960), Workout (1961), No Room For Squares (1963) and The Turnaround! (1965), Mobley took another step with an even more original and unique style and sidemen of quite a different calibre (Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Andrew Hill, Herbie Hancock, Philly Joe Jones). While we wait for more, this eponymous Hank Mobley and its superb sleeve make for a fine rediscovery. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 6, 2016 | Prestige

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Dippin' is one of Hank Mobley's finer moments, even considering that his entire Blue Note catalog is masterful, particularly his 1960s dates that reveal the depth and dimension of his understanding of harmonic invention -- all in the name of groove and swing, of course. This date, recorded on a single day in June of 1965, netted four Mobley originals as well as two covers. The band included trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Larry Ridley, and drummer Billy Higgins. The two-horn front line always served Mobley well. Here, with Morgan, the groove commences from the first notes of the title cut that opens the set. The short bluesy lines burst from the horns, and are turned inside out with elegant yet knotty lines that move the tune almost into pop territory but never venture far from the blues. The sprightly "Recado Bossa Nova," written by Djalma Ferreira, moves the band outside its comfort zone rhythmically, but Mobley's horn chart is brilliant. Higgins and Ridley keep the bossa groove natural and steaming as the soloists begin taking the tune apart and putting it back together. There is one ballad on the set, "I See Your Face Before Me" composed by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz. On it, Mobley does his best Ben Webster, blowing low and smoky and sweet, but the truth is that it doesn't belong on a program with so many hard bop swingers. The rest of the session is a pure joy and a fine document of Mobley's abilities as a bandleader and composer. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 3, 1985 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Of all the Blue Note artists of the 1960s, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley may very well be the most underrated. A consistent player whose style evolved throughout the decade, Mobley wrote a series of inventive and challenging compositions that inspired the all-stars he used on his recordings while remaining in the genre of hard bop. For this lesser-known outing, Mobley teams up with trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Billy Higgins for four of his songs (given such colorful titles as "A Dab of This and That," "No Argument," "The Hippity Hop," and "Bossa for Baby"), along with a song apiece from Byrd and Jimmy Heath. An excellent outing, fairly late in the productive career of Hank Mobley. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2000 | Blue Note Records

Why any critic would think that Hank Mobley was at the end of his creative spark in 1963 -- a commonly if stupidly held view among the eggheads who do this for a living -- is ridiculous, as this fine session proves. By 1963, Mobley had undergone a transformation of tone. Replacing the scintillating airiness of his late-'50s sides was a harder, more strident, almost honking one, due in part to the influence of John Coltrane and in part to Mobley's deeper concentration on the expressing blues feeling in his trademark hard bop tunes. The CD version of this album sets the record straight, dropping some tunes form a session months earlier and replacing them with alternate takes of the title cut and "Carolyn" for historical integrity, as well as adding "Syrup and Biscuits" and "Comin' Back." Mobley assembled a crack band for this blues-drenched hard-rollicking set made up of material written by either him or trumpeter Lee Morgan. Other members of the ensemble were pianist Andrew Hill, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and bassist John Ore. The title track, which opens the set, is a stand-in metaphor for the rest: Mobley's strong and knotty off-minor front-line trading fours with Hill that moves into brief but aggressive soloing for he and Morgan and brings the melody back, altered with the changes from Hill. On Morgan's "Me 'n' You," an aggressive but short bluesed-out vamp backed by a mutated samba beat, comes right out of the Art Blakey book of the blues and is articulated wonderfully by Mobley's solo, which alternates between short, clipped phrases along the line of the changes and longer trill and ostinatos where the end of a musical line is dictated by his breath rather than a chord change. Morgan is in the pocket of the blue shades, coloring the ends of his lines with trills and short staccato bursts, warping them in Hill's open, chromatic voicings. All eight cuts here move with similar fluidity and offer a very gritty and realist approach to the roots of hard bop. Highly recommended. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

Tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley has been called underrated so many times that the word may as well have been his middle name, and when combined with the numerous financial, personal, and health issues the saxophonist endured during his career, it all added up to a middle of the pack position in the jazz canon. He truly deserves a reevaluation. This delightfully warm set was cut on March 8, 1957 with Mobley on tenor sax, Art Farmer on trumpet, Horace Silver on piano, Doug Watkins on bass, and the energetic and busy Art Blakey on drums, which makes for a pretty nice session band when all is said and done. All eight selections (two are bonus tracks, alternate versions of "Funk in Deep Freeze" and "Wham and They're Off") are original Mobley compositions and show off his -- you guessed it -- underrated writing and arranging ability. "Wham and They're Off" is an aptly named piece, bouncing breezily out of the box in both versions, while "Base on Balls" is wonderfully lazy and laconic, unwinding into a perfectly loose and soulful jam for a long summer's day. "Funk in Deep Freeze," by the way, seems more frozen than it is funk, but it's still fun. The bottom line is that this is a superior quintet working effortlessly together, and Mobley's concisely measured, round sax tone binds everything into a beautifully nuanced set. Mobley might not have been out there pushing the envelope with his instrument, but here he plays with confidence and lyrical economy, making this easily one of his best outings. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Poppin' was one of many sessions tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley recorded in the late '50s and early '60s but remained unreleased until the late '70s and '80s. It's hard to say why this session - which was recorded in 1957 -- sat on the shelves, since it as good as the other records he cut at the time. Leading a sextet featuring trumpeter Art Farmer, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, Mobley plays a selection of five originals and contemporary jazz songs with passion and vigor. All of the musicians turn in fine performances (Clark in particular stands out with his lithe solos and tasteful accompaniment), and the result is a winning collection of straight-ahead hard bop that ranks as another solid addition to Mobley's strong catalog. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 20, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

Tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley was overshadowed by more influential tenors such as Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane during his career, but although he wasn't deliberately flashy or particularly innovative, his concisely measured, round sax tone made him the perfect ensemble player and he was a fine writer, as well, a talent who has often been undervalued and overlooked. The Peckin' Time session was recorded February 9, 1958 (the LP was issued a year later) and came in the midst of what was a period of whirlwind creativity for Mobley, who recorded work for the Savoy and Prestige imprints as well as six full albums for Blue Note (two were never released -- it was not that uncommon for Blue Note to stockpile sessions at the time) in a little more than a year's time (later Blue Note albums like Soul Station and Roll Call were still well in the future). For this session, Mobley found himself working with a young Lee Morgan on trumpet and in front of a fluid rhythm section that included pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Charlie Persip, and it's solid stuff, bright and always energetic. All but one of the tracks, a rendering of Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," were written by Mobley, and again, his hidden strength was always his writing, and it should probably come as no surprise that the best two tracks here, the title tune "Peckin' Time" and the wonderful "Stretchin' Out," were both penned by Mobley. It all adds up to a fine program, and if Mobley didn't push the envelope a whole lot, his lyrical and economical playing was always appropriate and graceful, and that's certainly the case here. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 12, 1958 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Blue Note Records

Straight No Filter finds tenor Hank Mobley in several settings from the mid-'60s, each of them excellent. The overall roster is quite impressive, starting with the first set which features trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Billy Higgins. The upbeat title cut is given a loose, post-bop feel by Tyner's comping, but things are brought back to earth by Mobley's emotional playing. A number of exchanges between Morgan and Mobley's horns give the piece an effective ending. "Chain Reaction" gives this group nearly 11 minutes to stretch things out, while "Soft Impressions" features a heavy blues groove. A couple of other standouts on this album -- "This Feelin's Good" and "Yes Indeed" -- feature trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Hancock provides a distinctive backdrop for Mobley and Morgan's solos while turning in some fine work himself. Mobley shines on Sy Oliver's "Yes Indeed," delivering a soulful solo, shot through with the blues. His playing throughout Straight No Filter is warm, accessible, and inventive, and it is instructive to have these sessions side by side, giving the listener a chance to compare Mobley's work in different settings. It should be mentioned that he penned eight out of the nine of these fine compositions. Bob Blumenthal's liner notes are helpful, breaking down the individual sessions and providing a good overview of Mobley's career. Straight No Filter will be welcomed by Mobley's fans and lovers of hard bop. It shouldn't be missed. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo