Recent listening, current

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

151. Hank Mobley / Workout (1961)

The band is Mobley with Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones playing typically of the period. I can't help but feel that Mobley is underrated as a composer and stylist, though. He's in that club with George Coleman and a few others, seemingly overshadowed by the giants they came up with. There's a lot of blues on this record, dotted here and there with elastic phrases and effervescent flurries by Mobley. Four of the six tunes are Mobley's originals, the exceptions being "The Best Things in Life are Free" and "Three Coins in the Fountain." They're interesting covers, one being rather old and the other an oddball. I like Mobley's melodic inventions and improvised embellishments of the melody. His colorful palette combined with a hard charging, muscular sound occasionally reminds me of Dexter Gordon. In the rhythm section, Jones and Chambers keep the soloists busy by mixing up the tempo, Jones occasionally very aggressive with crashes and rolls, playing melodically, not just rhythmically. Green and Kelly often solo in that order. Green has no trouble in the bebop idiom, spinning single-note solos like a bluesy sax. You can't go wrong with this or Another Workout, but for Mobley beginners, I'd start with Soul Station.

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