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Mon, 07.07.1930

Saxophonist Hank Mobley born

Hank Mobley

Hank Mobley was born on this date in 1930. He was a Black jazz saxophonist.

Hank Mobley was from Eastman, Georgia.  He was playing in a New Jersey R&B band in 1951 when Max Roach discovered and recruited him. After working with Roach, Tadd Dameron, and Dizzy Gillespie, he joined the Horace Silver quartet in 1954. This group became part of the Jazz Messengers, whose members backed Mobley when he began leading his own recording sessions in the mid-1950s.  During the early 1960s, he recorded two of his definitive Blue Note albums, "No Room For Squares" and "Soul Station." He also worked with Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham, and Elvin Jones.

In the early 1970s, he co-led a quartet with Cedar Walton. For a brief time in Chicago, he composed for Muhal Richard Abrams' AACM Big Band. Plagued by various health problems, Mobley retired from music in 1975. Four years later, his excellent 1966 recording, "A Slice Of The Top," was released for the first time. If a characteristic of hard bop was an infusion of blues and funk, then saxophonist Hank Mobley was an essential proponent. However, his own challenging rhythmic quickness and detached lyricism set him apart from the trends of any era. "Not a big sound, not a small sound, but a round sound," is the personal ideal Mobley described to one jazz writer.

He appeared briefly with Duke Jordan in 1986. Hank Mobley died of double pneumonia on May 30, 1986.

Jazz People
by Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York
Copyright 1976
ISBN 0-8109-1152-3

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