Hank Mobley

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Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley.jpg
Mobley c. 1956
Background information
Birth nameHenry Mobley
Born(1930-07-07)July 7, 1930
Eastman, Georgia
DiedMay 30, 1986(1986-05-30) (aged 55)
GenresJazz, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz
OccupationsComposer, saxophonist
InstrumentsSaxophone
LabelsBlue Note, Prestige, Savoy
 
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Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley.jpg
Mobley c. 1956
Background information
Birth nameHenry Mobley
Born(1930-07-07)July 7, 1930
Eastman, Georgia
DiedMay 30, 1986(1986-05-30) (aged 55)
GenresJazz, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz
OccupationsComposer, saxophonist
InstrumentsSaxophone
LabelsBlue Note, Prestige, Savoy

Henry (Hank) Mobley (July 7, 1930 – May 30, 1986) was an American hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophonist and composer. Mobley was described by Leonard Feather as the "middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone", a metaphor used to describe his tone, that was neither as aggressive as John Coltrane nor as mellow as Stan Getz, and his style that was laid-back, subtle and melodic, especially in contrast with players like Sonny Rollins and Coltrane. The critic Stacia Proefrock claimed he is "one of the most underrated musicians of the bop era."[1]

Biography[edit]

Mobley was born in Eastman, Georgia, but was raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, near Newark. When he was 16, an illness kept him in the house for several months. His uncle thought of buying a saxophone to help him occupy his time, and it was then that Mobley began to play. He tried to enter a music school in Newark, but couldn't, since he was not a resident, so he kept studying through books at home. At 19, he started to play with local bands and, months later, worked for the first time with musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach.[2] He took part in one of the earliest hard bop sessions, alongside Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins and trumpeter Kenny Dorham. The results of these sessions were released as Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers. They contrasted with the classical pretensions of cool jazz, with Mobley's rich lyricism being bluesier, alongside the funky approach of Horace Silver. When The Jazz Messengers split in 1956, Mobley continued on with pianist Horace Silver for a short time, although he did work again with Blakey some years later, when the drummer appeared on Mobley's albums in the early 1960s.

During the 1960s, he worked chiefly as a leader, recording over 20 albums for Blue Note Records between 1955 and 1970, including Soul Station (1960), generally considered to be his finest recording,[3] and Roll Call (1960). He performed with many of the other important hard bop players, such as Grant Green, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Clark, Wynton Kelly and Philly Joe Jones, and formed a particularly productive partnership with trumpeter Lee Morgan. Mobley is widely recognized as one of the great composers of originals in the hard-bop era, with interesting chord changes and room for soloists to stretch out.

Mobley spent a brief time in 1961 with Miles Davis, during the trumpeter's search for a replacement for John Coltrane. He is heard on the album Someday My Prince Will Come (alongside Coltrane, who returned for the recording of two tracks), and some live recordings (In Person: Live at the Blackhawk and At Carnegie Hall). Though considered by some as not having the improvisational fire of Coltrane, Mobley was known for his melodic playing.

Mobley was forced to retire in the mid-1970s due to lung problems. He worked two engagements at the Angry Squire in New York City November 22 and 23, 1985 and January 11, 1986 in a quartet with Duke Jordan and guest singer Lodi Carr a few months before his death from pneumonia in 1986.

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

TitleYearLabel
Hank Mobley Quartet1955Blue Note
The Jazz Message of Hank Mobley1956Savoy
Mobley's Message1956Prestige
Mobley's 2nd Message1956Prestige
Jazz Message No. 21957Savoy
Hank Mobley Sextet1957Blue Note
Hank Mobley and his All Stars1957Blue Note
Hank Mobley Quintet1957Blue Note
Hank1957Blue Note
Hank Mobley1957Blue Note
Curtain Call1957Blue Note
Poppin'1957Blue Note
Peckin' Time1958Blue Note
The Complete Blue Note Hank Mobley Fifties Sessions1955-58Mosaic
Soul Station1960Blue Note
Roll Call1960Blue Note
Workout1961Blue Note
Another Workout1961Blue Note
No Room for Squares1963Blue Note
The Feelin's Good1963Blue Note
Straight No Filter1963Blue Note
The Turnaround!1965Blue Note
Dippin'1965Blue Note
A Caddy for Daddy1965Blue Note
A Slice of the Top1966Blue Note
Hi Voltage1967Blue Note
Third Season1967Blue Note
Far Away Lands1967Blue Note
Reach Out1968Blue Note
The Flip1969Blue Note
Thinking of Home1970Blue Note
Breakthrough!1972Muse

As sideman[edit]

with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers

with Kenny Burrell

with Donald Byrd

with Sonny Clark

with John Coltrane, Zoot Sims & Al Cohn

with Miles Davis

with Kenny Dorham

with Kenny Drew

with Art Farmer

with Curtis Fuller

With Dizzy Gillespie

with Grant Green

with Johnny Griffin

with Freddie Hubbard

with J. J. Johnson

with Elvin Jones

with Lee Morgan

with Dizzy Reece

with Freddie Roach

With Rita Reys

with Max Roach

with Archie Shepp

with Horace Silver

with Jimmy Smith

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r144067
  2. ^ Original 1955 liner notes to Hank Mobley Quartet
  3. ^ Blumenthal, Bob (1960, 1999). "A NEW LOOK AT SOUL STATION". Soul Station (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition). Hank Mobley. Blue Note Records/Capitol Records.

External links[edit]