Hank Mobley

The Blue Note Years: The Best of Hank Mobley

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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"). For listeners who just want a taste, this best-of collection will do the trick just fine.

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