Friday, November 14, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Hank Mobley
Song:A Baptist Beat
Jazz critic Leonard Feather once described Hank Mobley as the Middleweight Champion Of The Tenor Sax meaning that he was at the second level of sax players in comparison to John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins. But Mobley has become more respected over the years. He played with all the greats and recorded classic albums on Blue Note. He was born July 7, 1930 in Eastman, GA and grew up in Elizabeth, NJ. He learned to play piano as a child and took up the sax at age 16. He modeled his style on the greats like Charlie Parker and Lester Young and started performing locally. Clifford Brown recommended him to Paul Gayten and Mobley joined in 1949 and stayed for two years. He was playing with pianist Walter Davis Jr. and Max Roach hired them when they backed him up on a club date. So he first recorded with Roach and then worked for Dizzy Gillespie in 1954. Mobley's big break came when he joined a band led by Horace Silver & Art Blakey that would soon become the Jazz Messengers. Mobley made his recording debut as a leader in 1955. When Silver & Blakey split, Mobley stayed with Silver. Then he landed in jail for drugs in 1958. When he got out, he joined Art Blakey in 1959. Then Mobley was hired by Miles Davis to replace John Coltrane in 1961. That didn't work out too well and Mobley returned to his solo career. He recorded several excellent albums on Blue Note including this 1960 album Roll Call. Musicians are Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Art Blakey on drums. It's good straight ahead bop and Blue Note released it on CD in 2002 with an alternate take of A Baptist Beat. Mobley continued to record for Blue Note through the 60s but problems with his lungs forced him to retire from music in the early 70s and he died on May 30, 1986 at age 55. Hank Mobley is a great sax player that you don't want to overlook. There's no video footage of Hank Mobley but here's a video for I Should Care.