Curtain Call

Hank Mobley

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Curtain Call Review

by Lee Bloom

Today we can only speculate as to why so many Blue Note sessions were not originally issued. Blue Note founder/producer Alfred Lion, known to be punctilious in upholding a very high standard for his product, sometimes felt that a particular session was not worthy of public release. While neither the playing nor writing is quite at the level of Mobley's 1960 critically acclaimed Soul Station (Blue Note 4031), "Curtain Call" is nevertheless a fine effort; yet it was only made available in 1984 by Toshiba EMI in Japan. Kenny Dorham, who like Mobley had worked in Max Roach's group, is featured on trumpet. (Dorham and Mobley had also recorded together on an earlier Mobley session for the Prestige label.) Highlights include the ballad "Deep in a Dream," which was to be re-recorded four years later with Ike Quebec for inclusion on Sonny Clark's great Leapin' and Lopin' LP. Hank's originals "Curtain Call" and "The Mobe" are sprightly and likable bop lines. Despite an occasional tendency for Mobley's relaxed articulation to sound a bit languorous, his playing is generally enjoyable, and his writing exhibits character, maturity, and a uniquely rhythmic approach to crafting memorable melodies.

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