Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter

Amazon review:
Hank Mobley's Blue Note dates of the 1960s had a remarkable consistency, a blend of Mobley's mellow sound and fluid invention with a shifting core of sidemen who shared his commitment to the tenets of hard bop--music that matched harmonic complexity with forceful swing. That consistency comes to the fore on Straight No Filter, with material from four quintet sessions presented in reverse chronological order from 1966 to 1963. The core is a session from 1966, with a band of trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Billy Higgins that produced just three tunes, but they're all outstanding, from the insistent title track to the blues march of "Soft Impressions." Titles might have gotten mixed up between the recording and the material's first release in 1979. The extended "Chain Reaction" is a sideman's chronicle, a variant of Coltrane's "Impressions," already based on the scalar pattern of Miles Davis's "So What." It's a pattern that Mobley and Tyner had explored almost nightly during their tenures in the Davis and Coltrane bands respectively, and Mobley even throws in a quotation from "St. Thomas," a nod to Cranshaw's regular employer, Sonny Rollins. The other three sessions contribute two tracks each, completing the material from Mobley's Turnaround and No Room for Squares sessions. Along the way there are repeat appearances by Morgan, Higgins, and drummer Philly Joe Jones that give a unified feel, while there's a remarkable range of distinctive pianists, from the angular Andrew Hill to the boppish Barry Harris and the smoother Herbie Hancock. There's often a funkier feel, with "Hank's Waltz" inspiring a superb Freddie Hubbard trumpet solo and "Yes Indeed," the only standard included, suffused with a strong gospel feel. --Stuart Broomer
Download: Hank Mobley - Straight No Filter