Recent listening, current

Thursday, January 24, 2013

13. Hank Mobley / Soul Station (1960)

The title Soul Station sounds like something out of the Jimmy Smith catalog, doesn't it? But it isn't soul jazz. Hank Mobley did not lead his own group often, and this statement of purpose really pops him out. Art Blakey, known to go full bore with the hard sticks, is more restrained and along with Chambers, carries a very laid back but swinging groove for Mobley to steer from the top. Wynton Kelly spreads out behind Mobley, playing a lush accompaniment of chords and his own bluesy licks. Mobley's technique is at the fore of the group, subtly kneading and stretching the signatures like dough. "Spirit Feelin's" has some good playing from everyone, including a short but terrific solo from Blakey. It is followed by the title track, a smoking slow blues jam that reminds me a little bit of Johnny Griffin's "Satin Wrap." But Mobley's patient phrasing and rhythmical construction are wholly different from Griffin's. The album closes with "If I Should Lose You," a standard that is treated similarly to the opener.

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