5 killer albums from one of our favorite tenor players of all time! First up is No Room For Squares – a classic Hank Mobley session from the mid 60s, and one that really shows the growth in his style at the time! The work's still strongly in a hardbop style, but modal elements are definitely creeping into the mix – a bolder sense of rhythm that really transforms the music from before – and lets Mobley reach out in a whole different way with his solos! The album features material from two different sessions – each of which have Mobley's tenor coming into play with other inventive artists on Blue Note at the time. One date features Lee Morgan on trumpet, Andrew Hill on piano, John Ore on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums – and the other features Donald Byrd on trumpet, Herbie Hancock on piano, Butch Warren on bass, and Jones again on drums. Titles include "Up A Step", "Me N You", "Three Way Split", "Carolyn", and the classic "No Room For Squares". Roll Call was recorded during the initial Mobley run at Blue Note, and a keen document of his amazing power on the tenor sax! The album's got a tightness that's almost impossible to believe – a summation of all the best bop trends of the 50s, rolled into a freewheeling and soulful expression, guided by Mobley's always-sharp ear for a groove. The group's great too – and Art Blakey is on drums, Wynton Kelly
on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and a young young Freddie Hubbard plays trumpet. All tracks are nice and long, with a firey hardbop sound, deeply held in place by Mobley's soulful tone on the tenor! Titles include "My Groove Your Move", "Baptist Beat", and "The Breakdown". Peckin Time is one of the first great pairings of Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan – a trumpet/
tenor team that was always a treasure, no matter what the setting! This one's a pretty open-ended blowing date – one that gives both horn players plenty of room to stretch out, in a setting that's filled with sharp-edged, and imaginative lines! The rhythm section is rock solid too – with Wynton Kelly
on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and the great Charlie Persip on drums – kicking things nicely on the kit to get a groove going. Tracks are all quite long, and titles include "Git Go Blues", "Stretchin Out", and "High & Flighty". Another Workout is a rare second chapter to Mobley's famous Workout album – recorded in the early 60s, but not issued until the mid 80s – and even then, only momentarily on vinyl! The session's a great one – a quartet outing with a structure that's similar to Hank's classic Soul Station record, but which is a bit more fluid and free-thinking overall! The long tracks give Mobley plenty of room to open up on his solos – really commanding the record with his deeply soulful tone and strong sense of timing. Other players include Wynton Kelly
on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums (plus Grant Green on one track) – and titles include "Out Of Joe's Bag", "I Should Care", "Getting & Jettin", "Hank's Other Soul", and "Three Coins In A Fountain". Reach Out Is an excellent Hank Mobley session – with an unusual twist that takes it past his earlier work! The lineup's great all the way through – with Woody Shaw on trumpet, George Benson on guitar, and Billy Higgins on drums – and the addition of Benson's guitar gives the tracks a groovily swinging edge that really makes them dance nicely! The set's got 4 originals – "Good Pickins", "Up Over & Out", "Beverly", and "Lookin East" – and 2 soul covers – "Reach Out" and "Goin' Out Of My Head" – and Mobley never misses a beat. Mobley was so great during this period, and we always mourn the fact that he hardly recorded much afterward!