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Blue Note

Hank Mobley – Workout

$38.00

Blue Note

Hank Mobley – Workout

$38.00

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Note: An audiophile 45rpm version of this album is also available here.

“In a word association game, the name “Hank Mobley” will often generate “Blue Note” and vice versa. While Mobley had a musical life beyond the Blue Note label including associations with Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis (the 1961 Quintet), it is for his Blue Note recordings that he rightfully most remembered. Mobley led 25 albums for Blue Note and appeared on over 30 others as a sideman. His consistency resulted in all of those recordings being recommended to hard bop collectors.

Mobley’s mastery of the style, his attractive tone, and his skill at writing songs that inspire memorable solos made him a perfect representative of the Blue Note sound. Even with his large number of great recordings, Workout is something special and a real standout. Joined by Grant Green, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, Mobley creates brilliant statements on four of his best originals (including the soulful “Uh Huh” and “Greasin’ Easy”), “The Best Things In Life Are Free” and “Three Coins In A Fountain.”

The passion in Mobley’s playing is exciting and will surprise many. He takes wild chances that challenge the other all-stars, and he plays with a constant stream of creative ideas. Even collectors who own a dozen other Hank Mobley albums will have to get this version of Workout which, with its superb remastering, has never sounded better.” - Music Matters

“The headlong charges which are "Workout" (pure bop) and "Smokin'" (pure hard bop) showcase Mobley at his best: passionate, wild and 100% in the moment. "Workout" is further distinguished by Philly Joe Jones' door-rattling presence and Grant Green's straight out of Minton's, more Christian than Christian, jetstream of a solo. "Uh Huh" (brisk soul-jazz, in which Mobley acknowledges and recalibrates his R&B roots) and "Greasin' Easy" (moderato hard bop blues) are almost as good. Mobley wrote all four of these tracks. (The two standards, "The Best Things In Life Are Free" and "Three Coins In A Fountain," are by comparison merely pleasant).” - All About Jazz

Musicians:

  • Hank Mobley, tenor sax
  • Grant Green, guitar
  • Wynton Kelly, piano
  • Paul Chambers, bass
  • Philly Joe Jones, drums

 

About Hank Mobley:

”One of the Blue Note label's definitive hard bop artists, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley remains somewhat underappreciated for his straightforward, swinging style. Any characterization of Mobley invariably begins with critic Leonard Feather's assertion that he was the "middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone," meaning that his tone wasn't as aggressive and thick as John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins, but neither was it as soft and cool as Stan Getz or Lester Young. Instead, Mobley's in-between, "round" (as he described it) sound was controlled and even, given over to subtlety rather than intense displays of emotion. Even if he lacked the galvanizing, mercurial qualities of the era's great tenor innovators, Mobley remained consistently solid throughout most of his recording career. His solo lines were full of intricate rhythmic patterns that were delivered with spot-on precision, and he was no slouch harmonically either. As a charter member of Horace Silver's Jazz Messengers, Mobley helped inaugurate the hard bop movement: jazz that balanced sophistication and soulfulness, complexity and earthy swing, and whose loose structure allowed for extended improvisations. As a solo artist, he began recording for Blue Note in the latter half of the '50s, and hit his peak in the first half of the '60s with hard bop cornerstones like Soul Station, No Room for Squares, and A Caddy for Daddy.

Henry "Hank" Mobley was born on July 7, 1930, in Eastman, GA, and grew up mostly in Elizabeth, NJ. Several family members played piano and/or church organ, and Mobley himself learned piano as a child. He switched to the saxophone at age 16, initially modeling his style on players like Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Don Byas, and Sonny Stitt. He soon started playing professionally in the area, and built enough of a reputation that trumpeter Clifford Brown recommended him for a job without having heard him play. That job was with Paul Gayten's Newark-based R&B band, which he joined in 1949, doubling as a composer. He departed in 1951 and joined the house band at a Newark nightclub, where he played with pianist Walter Davis, Jr. and backed some of the era's top jazz stars. That led to a job with Max Roach, who hired both Mobley and Davis after performing with them; they all recorded together in early 1953, at one of the earliest sessions to feature Roach as a leader. Meanwhile, Mobley continued to gig around his home area, playing with the likes of Milt Jackson, Tadd Dameron, and J.J. Johnson, among others; he also served two weeks in Duke Ellington's orchestra in 1953.

Mobley spent much of 1954 performing and recording with Dizzy Gillespie. He left in September to join pianist Horace Silver's group, which evolved into a quintet co-led by Art Blakey and dubbed the Jazz Messengers. Their groundbreaking first album for Blue Note, 1955's Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, was a landmark in the genesis of hard bop, with its sophisticated solos and bright, almost funky rhythms. Mobley led his first session for Blue Note, The Hank Mobley Quartet, in 1955, and recorded for Savoy and Prestige during 1956. In the middle of that year, the original lineup of the Jazz Messengers split, with Blakey keeping the name and Silver forming a new group. Mobley stayed with Silver until 1957, by which time he had begun to record prolifically as a leader for Blue Note, completing eight albums' worth of material over the next 16 months. Some of his best work, such as Hank Mobley and His All Stars and The Hank Mobley Quintet, was cut with a selection of old Messengers mates. Not all of his sessions were released at the time, but some began to appear as import reissues in the '80s. Often composing his own material, Mobley was beginning to truly hit his stride with 1958's Peckin' Time, when a worsening drug problem resulted in an arrest that took him off the scene for a year.

Upon returning to music in 1959, Mobley oriented himself by rejoining Art Blakey in the Jazz Messengers for a short period. His comeback session as a leader was 1960's classic Soul Station, near-universally acknowledged as his greatest recorded moment. Mobley cut two more high-quality hard bop albums, Roll Call and Workout, over 1960-1961, as well as some other sessions that went unreleased at the time. In 1961, Mobley caught what looked to be a major break when he was hired to replace John Coltrane in Miles Davis' quintet. Unfortunately, the association was a stormy one; Mobley came under heavy criticism from the bandleader, and wound up leaving in 1962. He returned to solo recording with 1963's No Room for Squares, often tabbed as one of his best efforts, before drug and legal problems again put him out of commission during 1964. Energized and focused upon his return, Mobley recorded extensively during 1965, showcasing a slightly harder-edged tone and an acumen for tricky, modal-flavored originals that challenged his sidemen. At the same time, Dippin' found a funkier soul-jazz sound starting to creep into his work, an approach that reached its apex on the infectious A Caddy for Daddy later that year.

Mobley recorded steadily for Blue Note through the '60s, offering slight variations on his approach, and continued to appear as a sideman on a generous number of the label's other releases (especially frequent collaborator Lee Morgan). 1966's A Slice of the Top found Mobley fronting a slightly larger band arranged by Duke Pearson, though it went unissued until 1979. After cutting the straightforward Third Season in 1967, Mobley embarked on a brief tour of Europe, where he performed with Slide Hampton. He returned to the U.S. to record the straight-ahead Far Away Lands and Hi Voltage that year, and tried his hand at commercially oriented jazz-funk on 1968's Reach Out. Afterward, he took Hampton's advice and returned to Europe, where he would remain for the next two years. 1969's The Flip was recorded in Paris, and Mobley returned to the States to lead his final session for Blue Note, Thinking of Home, in 1970 (it wasn't released until ten years later). He subsequently co-led a group with pianist Cedar Walton, which recorded the excellent Breakthrough in 1972.

Sadly, that would prove to be Mobley's last major effort. Health problems forced him to retire in 1975, when he settled in Philadelphia. He was barely able to even play his horn for fear of rupturing a lung; by the dawn of the '80s, he was essentially an invalid. In 1986, he mustered up the energy to work on a limited basis with Duke Jordan; however, he died of pneumonia not long after, on May 30, 1986. During Mobley's heyday, most critics tended to compare him unfavorably to Sonny Rollins, or dismiss him for not being the innovator that Coltrane was. However, in the years that followed Mobley's death, Blue Note hard bop enjoyed a positive reappraisal; with it came a new appreciation for Mobley's highly developed talents as a composer and soloist, instead of a focus on his shortcomings. ~ Steve Huey” – Blue Note Records

Item description:

Artist:

Hank Mobley

Title:

Workout

Label:

Blue Note

Format:

Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, 180 Gram

Pressing:

Europe

Release Date:

This reissue: 2015 | Original - 1961

Genre:

Jazz

Style:

Hard Bop

Catalog No:

602547476470

Condition:

New