Mobley was born in Eastman, Georgia, but was raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, near Newark. When he was 16, an illness kept him in the house for several months. His uncle thought of buying a saxophone to help him occupy his time, and it was then that Mobley began to play. He tried to enter a music school in Newark, but couldn't, since he was not a resident, so he kept studying through books at home. At 19, he started to play with local bands and, months later, worked for the first time with musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach. He took part in one of the earliest hard bop sessions, alongside Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Doug Watkins and trumpeter Kenny Dorham. The results of these sessions were released as Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers.
One of Charles Mingus' lesser-known band sessions, this lyrical set of five originals (plus the standard "Memories of You") features his usual sidemen of the period (trombonist Jimmy Knepper, trumpeter Clarence Shaw, Shafi Hadi on tenor and alto, and drummer Dannie Richmond), along with pianist Bill Evans. The music stretches the boundaries of bop, is never predictable and, even if this is not one of Mingus' more acclaimed dates, it is well worth acquiring for the playing is quite stimulating.