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OnLinerNotes - JAZZ!
Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter - LP Cover

track 1. Straight No Filter:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 2. Chain Reaction:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 3. Soft Impressions:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 4. Third Time Around:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 5. Hank's Waltz:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 6. Syrup and Biscuits:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 7. Comin' Back:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 8. The Feelin's Good:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


track 9. Yes Indeed:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


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Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter - LP Cover

track 1. Straight No Filter:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 2. Chain Reaction:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 3. Soft Impressions:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 4. Third Time Around:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 5. Hank's Waltz:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 6. Syrup and Biscuits:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 7. Comin' Back:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 8. The Feelin's Good:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


track 9. Yes Indeed:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


Get It? - OR - Back To Site Index

Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter - LP Cover

track 1. Straight No Filter:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 2. Chain Reaction:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 3. Soft Impressions:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 4. Third Time Around:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 5. Hank's Waltz:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 6. Syrup and Biscuits:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 7. Comin' Back:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 8. The Feelin's Good:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


track 9. Yes Indeed:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


Get It? - OR - Back To Site Index

Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter - LP Cover

track 1. Straight No Filter:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 2. Chain Reaction:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 3. Soft Impressions:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - McCOY TYNER
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - BOB CRANSHAW

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on June 17th, 1966


track 4. Third Time Around:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 5. Hank's Waltz:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - FREDDIE HUBBARD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - BARRY HARRIS
drums - BILLY HIGGINS
bass - PAUL CHAMBERS

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on February 4th, 1965


track 6. Syrup and Biscuits:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 7. Comin' Back:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - LEE MORGAN
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - ANDREW HILL
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - JOHN ORE

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on October 2nd, 1963


track 8. The Feelin's Good:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


track 9. Yes Indeed:
(Hank Mobley)

trumpet - DONALD BYRD
tenor sax - HANK MOBLEY
piano - HERBIE HANCOCK
drums - PHILLY JOE JONES
bass - BUTCH WARREN

in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
at the Van Gelder Studio
on March 7th, 1963


Get It? - OR - Back To Site Index

Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter - LP Cover


OnλinerNotes - JAZZ
Windsor - Canada
MMIII

Straight No Filter
Hank Mobley

    "...warm, inventive and accessible, and best of all, having these sessions side by side gives the listener a chance to hear - and to enjoy! - just how fine Hank was equally able to work within a smørgasbørd of settings..."

Blue Note Records
[ 27549 ]

LP image - Francis Wolff


producer - Alfred Lion
engineer - Rudy Van Gelder

Liner Notes:
_____This collection might be subtitled "The Posthumous Hank Mobley". Its contents first appeared shortly after the tenor saxophonist's death in 1986, at a time when he had been off the scene for over a decade. In the original liner notes, I lamented the indifference that Hank Mobley (bio) had encountered in his final years, and how Leonard Feather's description of him as "...the middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone..." had been taken by too many as the kind of faint praise that consigned Hank Mobley to the middle of the pack. Such judgments, while not universal, were common enough to rob him of the accolades he so richly deserved.

_____Things look a bit different in the year 2000, thanks in large measure to Blue Note's efforts at reissuing many of Hank Mobley's classic sessions. Now it has become commonplace for young musicians to record Hank Mobley compositions, and the critics have elevated him as well. Note, for one example, the reference in "Myself When I Am Real", Gene Santoro's exceptional biography of Charles Mingus (bio), to Max Roach, Hank Mobley, John Lewis, Oscar Pettiford (bio), Miles Davis (bio), Thelonious Monk (bio) - a pantheon of postwar jazz.

_____What kept Hank Mobley in the shadows during his lifetime was an absence of the personal drive required to become a "star" in the jazz world. In a sense he was the quintessential sideman, particularly during 1954-63, when he worked for virtually every non-tenor-playing major bandleader on the East Coast. His own headlining gigs were confined primarily to his albums on Blue Note, where Alfred Lion (bio) and Francis Wolff recognized his strengths and made him one of the most frequently featured artists on the label. Hank Mobley repaid their confidence by producing sessions that are now viewed as definitive, rarely equalled examples of hard bop. Yet there were always more charismatic or radical musicians around to overshadow his achievements; during the years when he cut the present tracks, when he was at a creative peak, many considered him irrelevant in comparison to the emerging avant-garde. By the end of the 1960s, with rock overwhelming all jazz styles, Hank Mobley had sunk into an obscurity from which he never emerged in his lifetime.

_____Hank Mobley got his first break in 1951, when Max Roach hired the 21 year-old saxophonist out of a Newark house band and introduced him to the New York nightclub scene. Two years later, Max Roach was in California when the opportunity arose to form a quintet; according to Hank Mobley, the drummer called New York in an attempt to recruit him and Clifford Brown, but was only able to locate the trumpeter. This would turn out to be the only notable gig of the era that Hank Mobley missed. He had already subbed briefly in Duke Ellington's orchestra and worked with Clifford Brown in Tadd Dameron's band, followed by a year with Dizzy Gillespie. Then, in 1954, a cooperative quintet took shape including Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins and Art Blakey (bio). The group became known as The Jazz Messengers, and all except Doug Watkins began recording for Blue Note as leaders. The Messengers favored a heavily percussive, blues-inflected style that was less overtly virtuosic than the bebop of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and far more visceral than the "cool" sounds then emanating from the West Coast. The style quickly became known as hard bop.

_____Hank Mobley's warm and fluent playing with The Jazz Messengers, his knack for creating tersely eloquent solos (often on Horace Silver's catchiest "soul" pieces) and the ease with which he wrote hospitable blowing lines of his own were obvious enough to those record companies that favored the hard-bop style and The Rudy Van Gelder Studios. After participating in several blowing sessions for Savoy® and Prestige®, Hank Mobley established his primary recording affiliation with Blue Note. What he did not do, as Kenny Dorham and Horace Silver did in 1956, was to seize the opportunity presented by the popularity of The Jazz Messengers and form a band of his own. Instead, when Horace Silver and Art Blakey split up, Hank Mobley went to work for the pianist. By decade's end, he had also gigged briefly (but sadly did not record) Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter - LP Coverwith Thelonious Monk and returned to both the Max Roach band (for a reunion with his Messengers front-line partner Kenny Dorham) and Art Blakey's Messengers (in time to solidify his musical relationship with another trumpet immortal, Lee Morgan). Hank Mobley also performed on numerous Blue Note dates, with most of the above-named players as well as Sonny Clark, Milt Jackson, Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Smith.

_____In 1960, Hank Mobley's playing reached an even more rarefied plateau. This was the point at which he began to perform regularly with pianist Wynton Kelly, at first on such Blue Note gems as "Soul Station" and "Roll Call", and then for a two year period (beginning in early 1961, around the time Hank Mobley recorded "Workout") in The Miles Davis Quintet. While Hank Mobley's sound grew even rounder, and his rhythmic agility more acute in this period, his steady lyricism was lost amidst the surrounding sounds of more radical saxophone stylists. Yet Hank Mobley was in peak form during his tenure with Miles Davis, and the quality of his work carried over through the years in which the present tracks were recorded.

_____Four separate sessions are represented herein, with three of them completing the dates that make up two of Hank Mobley's most popular albums, "No Room For Squares" and "The Turnaround". As part of Blue Note's RVG series, both of those albums now contain their original LP programs (with two alternate takes added in the case of "No Room For Squares"). The three discs taken together include much of the cream of mid-1960s Hank Mobley.

_____We begin with the complete output of a June 17, 1966 quintet session featuring Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner (bio), Bob Cranshaw and Billy Higgins. These musicians already had a history as a unit, as they had recorded Hank Mobley's album "A Caddy For Daddy", with Curtis Fuller added, six months earlier. They had also participated in Hank Mobley's exquisite octet date, "A Slice Of The Top", earlier in 1966.

_____The title track, like every composition in this set save the last, is a Hank Mobley original. Its 32-bar line points up the growing interest in modal forms that the saxophonist displayed after his work with Miles Davis, with the greater harmonic motion in the bridge providing effective release to the tension generated by the main melodic phrase. Hank Mobley exploits this contrast in his solo, relying on emphatic ideas while the rhythm section builds pressure, then letting loose with longer lines when the bridge arrives. Lee Morgan does not merely repeat Hank Mobley's concluding idea, but employs it to generate several bars of variations. The trumpeter's heated attack and bold tonal effects provide an ideal contrast to Hank Mobley, as their inspired exchanges after McCoy Tyner's solo demonstrate.

_____"Chain Reaction" brings Hank Mobley's patented attitude to bear on a line that is extremely close to John Coltrane's "Impressions" (which itself was taken from Morton Gould's "Pavanne"). Eight bars are added to the bridge, creating a 40-bar, AABBA form. The modal sequence was originally popularized by Miles Davis's "So What", and Hank Mobley reprises several ideas from his great solo on that tune contained on Columbia®'s "Miles Davis At Carnegie Hall" album. Lee Morgan is crackling here, and in his final chorus he reconsiders some of his own pet ideas to fresh effect - as when he quotes from his own "Our Man Higgins" in the second half of the bridge. Modal juggernauts like this tune and "Straight, No Filter" were meat and potatoes to McCoy Tyner, who takes the long and invigorating opening solo, spurred at one point by the riffing horns.

_____"Soft Impressions" is the blues, personalized by the fresh turns in Hank Mobley's writing and McCoy Tyner's supporting fills. One wishes the three featured soloists had been given the opportunity to stretch out more on this infectious title.

_____Next, we hear two tracks from the 1965 session that yielded the bulk of the album "The Turnaround". The occasion was notable for reuniting Hank Mobley with Freddie Hubbard, another of the saxophonist's preferred trumpet partners. (The pair had inspired each other on two November 1960 dates, Hank Mobley's "Roll Call" and Freddie Hubbard's "Goin' Up", and would join together again later in the month for some of the tracks contained on Freddie Hubbard's "Blue Spirits".) Paul Chambers was an associate from Hank Mobley's Miles Davis tenure as well as several previous albums, while Barry Harris and Billy Higgins had participated in Lee Morgan's 1963 hit recording "The Sidewinder". Barry Harris recorded under Hank Mobley's leadership on both Savoy® and Prestige® in 1956, while Billy Higgins was making the first of what would be nine appearances on Hank Mobley's Blue Note sessions.

_____"Third Time Around" would be recorded in a faster version later in 1965 on "A Caddy For Daddy". It is a fine example of the subtle challenges presented by many Hank Mobley compositions. At first, it seems to be a conventional (though extremely tuneful) medium swinger; then it reveals itself as a 20-bar form, with a rhythmic suspension in the last eight bars that is preserved during the blowing choruses. Paul Chambers introduces the tune and gets a solo spot, while Hank Mobley's choruses are in the more economical and emphatic style of what might be termed his "late" period.

_____"Hank's Waltz" is the blues in a sanctified waltz meter. None of the musicians have to strain to sound soulful here - their expression is honest and infectious, without falling back on gospel clichés. Billy Higgins kicks things along with his usual elan, and comes through especially well on the arranged chorus leading to the restatement of the theme. Both tracks capture Freddie Hubbard at a particularly fertile moment in his evolution, and take Barry Harris in directions where his more bebop-centered proclivities rarely led him on his own sessions.

_____Continuing the reverse chronological sequence of the present program are two tracks from the 1963 session that provide the bulk of the classic "No Room For Squares". The band includes Lee Morgan and Philly Joe Jones, two of the saxophonist's most reliable partners in earlier recordings. (All three, for one example, participated in the trumpeter's debut session "Introducing Lee Morgan".) As it turned out, the music they produced on this occasion was less an exercise in nostalgia than a harbinger of great Blue Note jazz to come from both of the front line players and from Andrew Hill, who would soon begin his own series of immortal recordings for the label. John Ore, the bassist, had worked most prominently in Thelonious Monk's quartet, and at this writing can still be heard in The Sun Ra Arkestra.

_____"Syrup And Biscuits" is an intriguing 16-bar line that begins playfully before resolving in a testifying mood. Reed squeaks may explain why the performance sat on the shelf for a quarter-century, yet they are incidental to the passion that Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan display in their solos and eight-bar exchanges.

_____An introductory line punctuated by rhythmic suspensions and a drum break brings on "Comin' Back". The funky 32-bar theme develops a Jazz Messengers vibe, thanks to the shuffle beat of Hank Jones and the preaching of the two horn players. John Ore contributes some of his best recorded solo work in the chorus he splits with Andrew Hill.

_____To conclude this edition of "Straight, No Filter", we hear two tracks recorded on March 7, 1963. This was one of Hank Mobley best days ever in the recording studio a fact that was obscured when the results were spread over several releases. Two titles appeared on "No Room For Squares", another two on "The Turnaround", and should be heard for the astonishing playing of Hank Mobley and Herbie Hancock. Philly Joe Jones is once again present, with Donald Byrd and Butch Warren completing the quintet. All save Philly Joe Jones had participated in Donald Byrd's memorable "A New Perspective" two months earlier, and in two weeks Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley would play Herbie Hancock's music on the pianist's sophomore effort, "My Point Of View". At the time of recording, Butch Warren was featured in Thelonious Monk's quartet, while Philly Joe Jones, Hank Mobley and Herbie Hancock represented the past, present and immediate future of the Miles Davis band.

_____"The Feelin's Good" is a 16-bar line that begins with an air of mystery and stop-time support from the rhythm section, only to resolve in a sunnier release and a shuffle beat. Philly Joe Jones guarantees the claim in the title as Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley solo in turn. The bold opening phrase of the leader's solo is a particular delight.

_____"Yes Indeed" is the Sy Oliver classic that had previously served both Tommy Dorsey and Ray Charles well. The groove is similar to one of Horace Silver's amen numbers (to borrow John Coltrane's description of "Sister Sadie"), which both Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley knew intimately from their days with The Jazz Messengers and Horace Silver's own quintet. Each of these players could incorporate gospel elements on appropriate material such as this without sounding artificial, and the entire performance is as affirmative as Sy Oliver's title implies.

_____All of the music here drives home the point that, regardless of his "weight", Hank Mobley was a champion. (...from Bob Blumenthal...)

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Mank Mobley: a bio
______Hank Mobley was born on July 7, 1930 in Eastman, Georgia, and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. There was much music in his family, particularly piano music. Uncle Dave Mobley played piano among other instruments, and his mother and grandmother also played keyboards (his grandmother was a church organist). Piano became Mobley's first instrument; then he picked up the tenor sax at age 16 and basically taught himself the horn. On his uncle's advice, he listened initially to Lester Young and then to Don Byas, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt. "....Anyone who can swing and get a message across...", as Mobley explained his influences to Leonard Feather in 1956.

_____By his late teens, Mobley was working as a professional musician. He was hired by Paul Gayten and worked the rhythm and blues circuit with him between 1949 and 1951, having been recommended by Clifford Brown (who had not heard Mobley play at the time but was aware of his growing reputation). "...Hank was beautiful, he played alto, tenor and baritone and did a lot of the writing...", Gayten recalled. "...He took care of business and I could leave things up to him..."

_____The Gayten band also included baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne and future Ellingtonians Clark Terry, Aaron Bell and Sam Woodyard. Working with the last three no doubt eased the way for Mobley's two-week stint as Jimmy Hamilton's replacement in the Ellington Orchestra during 1953. ("...I didn't play clarinet, but I played some of the clarinet parts on tenor...", he later recalled). While the band recorded, the material did not feature Mobley as a soloist.

_____Mobley's jazz recording debut was the product of a job he held in the house band of a Newark nightclub after leaving Gayten in 1951. Another promising youngster and future Blue Note artist, pianist Walter Davis, Jr., was also a part of the group, and the opportunity to back visiting stars including Miles Davis (bio), Dexter Gordon, Billie Holiday (bio), Bud Powell and Lester Young was invaluable to their rapid development.

_____Max Roach hired both Mobley and Miles Davis after appearing at the Newark club, and brought them into rooms like the 'Apollo Bar' before recording with them for 'Debut' in March 1953. The session (now available on OJC) included both quartet and septet tracks and captures an already recognizable tenor stylist and composer. Roach reportedly tried to summon both Mobley and Clifford Brown to California to form what would become the Brown/Roach quintet in the summer of 1953, but was only able to locate the trumpeter.

_____Back on the East Coast, Mobley gained further experience with Miles Davis, Tadd Dameron, Milt Jackson and J.J. Johnson. For much of 1954 he worked with Dizzy Gillespie, and participated in four of the trumpeter's recording sessions. After leaving Gillespie in September 1954, Mobley Hank Mobleyjoined pianist Horace Silver's quartet at 'Minton's Playhouse', a group completed by basist Doug Watkins and drummer Arthur Edgehill.

_____"...On weekends Art Blakey and Kenny Dorham would come in to jam, 'cause they were right around the corner...", Mobley recalled, which led to Silver's first quintet session for Blue Note with Dorham, Mobley, Watkins and Blakey (bio). The session was issued as "Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers", working a variation on the Messengers name that Blakey had employed for a larger ensemble several years earlier; and the five musicians decided to work in a cooperative relationship whenever any one of them was offered work.

_____When it came to music, Hank Mobley was extremely sure-footed in this period. If his drug problem created a less steady personal life and slowed his recording activities significantly for much of 1958 and '59, he was able to bounce back with Blue Note in 1960, when he entered his truly golden age on albums like "Soul Station", "Roll Call", and "Workout".

_____Possessed of both his own conception, which made his music readily identifiable, and the equally rare inspiration that also made listening to his work eminently satisfying, Mobley was perpetually eclipsed throughout his career by more extroverted and influential sylists. His work was often downgraded as a lesser version of Sonny Rollins (bio); and in 1960 and '61, when he worked with Miles Davis and recorded what are his greatest sessions under his own name, he was dismissed for not measuring up to his predecessor in the Davis band, John Coltrane (bio).

_____When the avant-garde innovators dominated the attention of jazz critics a few years later, Mobley's playing was often dismissed as old hat and irrelevant. It has only been in the years since he stopped recording (his last session, co-led with Cedar Walton, took place in 1972), and especially since his death in 1986, that the exceptional quality of his playing and writing has begun to receive a commensurate measure of respect. (...from Bob Blumenthal...).

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Alfred Lion: a bio
______Alfred Lion was born in Berlin on April 21st, 1908 and died in San Diego on February 2nd, 1987. Alfred Lion was the founder of Blue Note Records®, and under his and Francis Wolff's leadership, Blue Note® was for many years the top independent jazz label. Alfred Lion first discovered jazz when he saw Sam Wooding's Orchestra in Berlin in the 1920s. He emigrated to the United States in 1938 and inaugurated Blue Note® with an Albert Ammons-Meade Lux Lewis session on Jan. 6, 1939. Francis Wolff joined the label that October and would share artistic control of Blue Note® with Alfred Lion until his death in 1971.

_____At first, Blue Note® concentrated on small-group swing, Dixieland and boogie-woogie. However, in 1946, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff took time off to change the focus of the label. Inspired by Ike Quebec, who pointed out some of the greats of modern jazz, Alfred Lion soon signed up Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. Although Blue Note® had always been impressive, the company really came into its own in the mid-1950s Alfred Lionwhen it started recording hard bop extensively, including Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Horace Silver, and the up-and-coming organist Jimmy Smith. Alfred Lion believed that each record should be special, so rehearsal often took place before sessions, an unheard-of practice for a small jazz label. The 1955-67 period is often thought of as Blue Note®'s prime, when they had such major artists as Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Curtis Fuller, Wayne Shorter, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, and many others recording gems on a regular basis.

_____In addition to hard bop and soul-jazz, Alfred Lion was open to the sound of the avant-garde, and Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman recorded major sets for the label. In 1966, Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff sold Blue Note® to Liberty®, and decline soon set in. Alfred Lion retired altogether in 1967, but fortunately, he lived long enough to see Blue Note® revived in the mid-1980s. (...from Scott Yanow...)

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McCoy Tyner: a bio
______It is to McCoy Tyner's great credit that his career after John Coltrane has been far from anti-climatic. Along with Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner has been the most influential pianist in jazz of the past 50 years, with his chord voicings being adopted and utilized by virtually every younger pianist. A powerful virtuoso and a true original (compare his playing in the early '60s with anyone else from the time), McCoy Tyner (like Thelonious Monk) has not altered his style all that much from his early days but he has continued to grow and become even stronger.

_____Alfred McCoy Tyner was born (and grew up in) Philadelphia on December 11th, 1938, where Bud Powell and Richie Powell were neighbors. As a teenager he gigged locally and met John Coltrane. He made his recording debut with The Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet, but after six months left the group to join John Coltrane in what (with bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones) McCoy Tynerwould become the classic quartet. Few other pianists of the period had both the power and the complementary open-minded style to inspire John Coltrane, but McCoy Tyner was never overshadowed by the innovative saxophonist. During McCoy Tyner's 'John Coltrane' years (1960-1965), the pianist also led his own record dates for Impulse®.

_____After leaving John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner struggled for a period, working as a sideman (with Ike and Tina Turner, amazingly) and leading his own small groups; his recordings were consistently stimulating even during the lean years. After he signed with Milestone® in 1972, McCoy Tyner began to finally be recognized as one of the greats, and he has never been short of work since. Although there have been occasional departures (such as a 1978 all-star quartet tour with Sonny Rollins and duo recordings with Stephane Grappelli), McCoy Tyner has mostly played with his own groups since the '70s, which have ranged from a quartet with Azar Lawrence and a big band to his trio. (...from Scott Yanow...)

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Herbie Hancock: a bio
_____Born into a musical family, Herbie Hancock began studying the piano at the age of seven, and four years later performed the first movement of a Mozart concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a young people's concert. While attending Hyde Park High School he formed his own jazz ensemble. His knowledge of harmony was early influenced by Clare Fischer's arrangements for The Hi-Los and Robert Farnon's orchestral arrangements of standard popular songs.

_____By the time he graduated from Grinnell College in 1960 he was already performing in Chicago jazz clubs with Coleman Hawkins and Donald Byrd. Donald Byrd invited him to join his quintet and move to New York where, during Herbie Hancock's first recording session with the group, Blue Note® was sufficiently impressed to offer him his first date as a leader in May 1962. The resulting album, "Takin' Off", drew considerable public attention through an original tune with a strong gospel influence: "Watermelon Man".

_____In May 1963 Herbie Hancock joined Miles Davis' quintet. His piano style had by that time evolved into a highly personal blend of blues and bop with colorful harmony and exquisite tone - a rich combination of elements heard in Miles Davis's previous pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, and Victor Feldman.

_____Working with Ron Carter and Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock helped revolutionize traditional jazz concepts of the rhythm section and its relation to the soloists. He built on the earlier developments of such diverse groups as Bill Evans's trio and Ornette Coleman's quartet, and established a musical rapport with an extraordinary degree of freedom and interaction. During his five years with the quintet Herbie Hancock also composed several tunes which have become jazz standards, including "Maiden Voyage", "Dolphin Dance", Herbie Hancock"Cantaloupe Island", "The Sorcerer", and "Speak Like A Child".

_____From 1971 to 1973 Hancock led a sextet which combined elements of jazz, rock, and African, and Indian music with electronic devices and instruments. Influenced by Miles Davis' earlier fusion recordings, in which Herbie Hancock had participated, the sextet was notable for its colorful doubling of instruments, tasteful blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, and mastery of compound meters. Thereafter Herbie Hancock began to use electric and electronic instruments more extensively, playing the Fender-Rhodes® piano through a variety of signal processors such as wa-wa and fuzz pedals. Later he turned to the Mellotron and the Hohner Clavinet, and, finally, various synthesizers, sequencers, and electronic percussion units. The album "Headhunters" (1973) marked the beginning of a commitment to more commercial types of music, particularly rock, funk, and disco, and contained the hit single "Chameleon".

_____Although Herbie Hancock returned occasionally to jazz projects from the late 1970s, particularly with his band V.S.O.P. and his piano duos with Chick Corea, some critics felt that his inventiveness and clarity of development had suffered as a result of his extended absence from the jazz scene. During this period he enjoyed considerable commercial success; in 1983 the single "Rockit" reached number one on the pop chart, and the promotional video for this recording received widespread critical acclaim. "Rockit" demonstrated Herbie Hancock's ability to use the most complex innovations in electronic technology to produce fascinating music.

_____After this success he turned his attention almost exclusively to jazz for the next two years. He acted and played in the film "Round Midnight" (1986) and won an Oscar for his score. In 1987, he toured Europe in a trio with Buster Williams and Al Foster, and the USA and Japan leading a quartet that included Mike Brecker, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Herbie Hancock continues to contribute to jazz music and its ongoing development.

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