Four CD set containing eight albums from the Jazz legend. Includes the albums Hank Mobley Quartet, Tenor Conclave, Hank Mobley All Stars, Hank, Hank Mobley Quintet, Hank Mobley Sextet, Soul Station and Roll Call. With no disrespect toward Hawk, Bean, Prez, Trane, Rollins, Getz, Shorter, Henderson, Dexter and Brecker, Hank Mobley is the tenor player I listen to more than any other (were Sonny Stitt exclusively a tenor player, his recordings would be a close second, with Harold Land, Charlie Rouse, Oliver Nelson and Paul Gonsalves in the 3rd spot). Mobley doesn't so much "impress" as "seduce" the listener with ceaselessly melodic, lyrical, soulful inventions each time out. He was no "innovator" or trailblazer. Nor, like so many "showier" tenors, did he introduce "artifacts" into his sound–wobbles, growls, squeals and screeches, etc., approaches as common during the '30s and '40s as in the adventurous experimentation of modal and free players in the '60s and beyond.
One more surprise from DJA, a complete never-before-heard performances by Hank Mobley, backed by Dutch players in three different sets taped live at the Bellevue theater in Amsterdam, at VARA studio in Hilversum and at the JazzClub B14 in Rotterdam. Mobley is accompanied by the brilliant pianist Pim Jacobs and drummer wizard Han Bennink in its only known collaboration to date.
Part of Blue Note's quality series of artist samplers, The Best of Hank Mobley surveys the great tenor saxophonist's prime stretch from 1955-1965. Originally overshadowed by the likes of Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and, of course, Coltrane, Mobley nevertheless gained the respect of his peers, thanks to his richly fluid phrasing and smooth, caramel tone – in lieu of trying to impress you, he seduced you slowly from afar. And while one is advised to dive in directly with any one of his Blue Note discs – especially Soul Station, No Room for Squares, and A Slice of the Top – this ten-track overview still works well as a launching pad. Backed by a stellar array of "Blue Note" regulars like Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard, and Horace Silver, Mobley ranges effortlessly from early hard bop favorites ("Funk in a Deep Freeze") to mature, solo-rich material from the mid-'60s ("The Turnaround"). In between, there are two stunning originals from his banner year of 1960 ("This I Dig of You," "Take Your Pick") and one of the best of his several bossa nova numbers ("Recado Bossa Nova").
Saxophonist Hank Mobley's 1956 date for Prestige, Mobley's Message, is an often overlooked gem of the era. Joining Mobley here is an all-star cast of musicians including trumpeter Donald Byrd, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, pianist Barry Harris, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor. Essentially a high-energy blowing session, the album features some stellar bop-oriented improvisation and is well worth seeking out.
Why any critic would think that Hank Mobley was at the end of his creative spark in 1963 – a commonly if stupidly held view among the eggheads who do this for a living – is ridiculous, as this fine session proves. By 1963, Mobley had undergone a transformation of tone. Replacing the scintillating airiness of his late-'50s sides was a harder, more strident, almost honking one, due in part to the influence of John Coltrane and in part to Mobley's deeper concentration on the expressing blues feeling in his trademark hard bop tunes. ~ AllMusic