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Hank Mobley: “Soul Station” and “This I Dig of You”

Here is what Jazz Giants says about Hank Mobley:

Mobley began playing tenor saxophone as a New Jersey teenager and gained experience in the bands of Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie and was a founding member of the original 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. Mobley’s solo lines were full of intricate rhythmic patterns that were delivered with spot-on precision, and he was no slouch harmonically either.

Hank Mobley played a sweet tenor. He could play – and often played – r&b-tinged jazz; indeed, along with trumpeter Lee Morgan he became one of the foremost practitioners of this paleo-fusion in the Fifties and Sixties. But he was not a hooting, booting, keening, screaming r&b artist. Instead, he built his solos with an easygoing inexorability. (Continue Reading…)

Mobley was by all accounts an under-the-radar genius. “Soul Station” is the title track from what appears to be his most influential album. “This I Dig of You” also is on the record. It was released in 1960. Mobley was a hard bop player. The most famous musician from of that genre was Horace Silver. Check out “Song for My Father.” If you like Steely Dan, listen closely to the first few seconds.