365 Days of Album Recommendations – March 26

Hank Mobley – Workout

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I love Hank Mobley. And, I LOVE the band he has on the album. I mean LOVE. I mean, this is probably as good as it fucking gets in jazz:

Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Grant Green, and Philly Joe Jones.

I mean, that’s a dream line-up. And they don’t disappoint. Which is pretty remarkable. You see all those names together, you’re expectations are going to be high. Very high. But the music cooks from start to finish.

I think this is generally considered to be canonical “hard bop” but for me, it’s just straight up jazz. It swings hard, and everybody wails. It’s melodic, and it’s intelligent. The interplay is spot on, the improvisations stretch but don’t break, and the electricity is palpable. It’s honestly a very fun record as well—it really feels like the musicians are just fully in it, and havin’ a ball. It’s just brilliant music.

And, it was recorded on this day back in 1961, so we’re celebrating it today.

Couple additional things to note here. Historically, I think Hank gets a bit of the short end of the stick, because reputationally Miles cut him down a peg for not bein’ the right man to fill Coltrane’s shoes. That ain’t fair. Mobley’s his own man, and this album shows it.

Soul Station is generally probably the more well-known and well-regarded of Mobley’s releases, but for my money, this is a far better album, for two key reasons: 1) Blakey is out on drums, and Philly Joe is in. That’s a good move for this set. And 2) Grant Green is added to the line-up here. That’s a damn good thing.

So, this album is a killer. Go dig it, and do it today, so you’re timely …


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