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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.

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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