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rockefeller center

Hank Mobley, down beat, March 29, 1973

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JSngry: Think we could get the Mobley article/interview by John Litweiler? That's one of the best pieces that magazine ever ran. March 29, 1973.

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Edited by rockefeller center

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Thank you, RC. This is a true public service.

Seriously.

:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup:tup

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I'm in a particularly contemplative mood today for a slightly silly reason--I just found out that my favorite restaurant in Seattle has closed, and the building has, in fact, been torn down. It's very sad to me because my (then fiancee, now wife) and I went to dinner there the night before our wedding; as a result, it had special meaning to us. Now it's gone.

The earlier thread about "The Flip" being the last of the reissued Hank records to hit CD hit me in a very similar way. Hank--so much potential. It was the mid-eighties, he was finally getting himself back together (right here in Philly! Not far from my house, as a matter of fact!), and poof--he was gone. Mind you, I was 12 then, and had never even heard of the man. But in the intervening years, I have grown to love the man and his music, being alternately delighted at his music and frustrated about the lack of information about Hank, the man.

I had always heard about this article, but never seen it. Now that I've read it (thanks a million for posting it, Rock), I'm sad and happy--sad that I was never able to hear Hank in the flesh; happy that we have as much of the music he created as we do; sad that we do seem to be at the end (for a lot of die-hard folks) of the "discovery" period of Hank's work; but happy knowing that there a still a lot of people out there who are, for the first time, picking up a copy of a record in his name, or something he was a sideman on, and thinking, "wow! I wonder what else he played on!" thereby opening themselves up to an entire world of discs and recordings. And then they, too, get to engage in a quest to unearth a copy of Far Away Lands or Slice of the Top or Another Workout.

So many of these giants are no longer with us, and it's tempting to wallow in the "what if I had bought..." or the "why wasn't I born ten (twenty? Thirty?) years earlier types of thought. But like anyone close to us who has departed this world, we should feel implicitly charged with "spreading the gospel" and turning our friends, loved ones and enemies on to these marvelous, organic but historical documents.

Rest in peace, Hank, John, Lee, all of you, wherever you are--with the knowledge that we're going to keep listening.

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... we should feel implicitly charged with "spreading the gospel" and turning our friends, loved ones and enemies on to these marvelous, organic but historical documents.

Spreading the word of jazz is pretty much the only proselytzing I ever do...

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Great article, RC, and thanks Jim for suggesting it.

Do you guys know the unreleased BN sessions Hank was talking about in the article? Just curious.

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During Hank's stay in Chicago, I was living in Madison, WI. My friends John Litweiler and Larry Kart kept me abreast of performances I should attend. I managed to hear Mobley twice during this time. One time was with the "working band" mentioned, with Muhal, Rufus, Wilbur and Frank Gordon. If memory does not fail, this was a gig in a church basement on the South Side. The other time was one of Joe Segal's extravaganzas - Jug, Von, Hank and (odd man out) Hank Crawford.

Maybe Larry will chime in with more info on those times.

Concerning the unissued date(s) Hank mentioned: One is Slice of the Top and I always surmised the themes on Thinking of Home incorporated the film music.

I'll forward this thread to Litweiler and see if he chooses to shed any light.

Edited by Chuck Nessa

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Chuck, I remember (or think I remember) being at the Jug, Von, Hank, Hank Crawford affair, but if so my memories of it are very dim -- perhaps because it was kind of a mess? Also -- and how many times does this happen? -- I probably wasn't thinking along "focus on Mobley and treasure the memory" lines because I didn't know how close he was to the end. On the other hand, I did hear Hank in New York, before or probably after this -- at some club-based "festival" with, I think Philly Joe in the band -- and he was in very poor shape, almost unable to get enough air through the horn to make a sound. That was indelible because it was so sad, almost shocking. Don't think I ever heard another great player, in person at least, who was in a similar condition but still trying to play -- maybe Lester Young with JATP in fall 1955, before he was hospitalized for a month or so and then came out to make "Jazz Giants '56" and "Pres and Teddy." As I recall, the New York thing with Hank just seemed cruel, like somebody should have stopped it, but maybe Hank himself felt otherwise, given the alternatives.

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BTW, I'd seen that piece of John's before but didn't remember it well enough. What a beautiful, soulful, insightful piece of writing. There are two lives at stake and on view there -- Hank's and John's.

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P.S. The NY club where I saw Mobley in such grim shape was The Tin Palace.

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Great interview, many thanks. Saddening to read how he thought of his albums waiting on the Blue Note vault shelves, considering they included some of his greatest compositional achievements.

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wow, very interesting article. I found it cool that Hank admitted to being uncomfortable with that version of "The Way You Look Tonight" on the "Blowin Session" record. It's like one chorus, and out. Hank definitely had a think with a mid tempo groove no question. I'm gonna forward this article to Mike, and see if we can make it useful when he does the hard bop section later on in course. Mobley IMO tho criminally underrated by the mainstream is crucially important as one of the main tenor stylists in that genre, and the way he wrote, was hip.

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Well I would like to add my thanks for that as it was a really lovely piece to read in this format.

Many thanks for sharing this.

Andy :D

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Anybody else have a copy of this to post. I had read it a couple years ago and it was a great piece as I remember. I've since lost my printout. Anybody else have it?

Thanks.

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"Alfred Lion would be walking around, (snap) 'Mmm! (snap) 'Ooh!' -- now vait a minute, it don't sving, it don't sving!" So we'd stop and laugh and then come back and slow it down just a bit. Then he'd say, (snap) (snap), "Fine, fine, dot really svings, ja!"

:D

"It was during this 1954-56 period that Mobley began recording on his own; the music is generally considered his finest work"

'Mobley's Message' or ze Savoys?

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"Alfred Lion would be walking around, (snap) 'Mmm! (snap) 'Ooh!' -- now vait a minute, it don't sving, it don't sving!" So we'd stop and laugh and then come back and slow it down just a bit. Then he'd say, (snap) (snap), "Fine, fine, dot really svings, ja!"

:D

"It was during this 1954-56 period that Mobley began recording on his own; the music is generally considered his finest work"

'Mobley's Message' or ze Savoys?

A discography would answer all your questions. You do like books, don't you?

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What a great read. Thanks for posting it.

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"Alfred Lion would be walking around, (snap) 'Mmm! (snap) 'Ooh!' -- now vait a minute, it don't sving, it don't sving!" So we'd stop and laugh and then come back and slow it down just a bit. Then he'd say, (snap) (snap), "Fine, fine, dot really svings, ja!"

:D

"It was during this 1954-56 period that Mobley began recording on his own; the music is generally considered his finest work"

'Mobley's Message' or ze Savoys?

A discography would answer all your questions. You do like books, don't you?

Ze question hasn't anything to do vith wanting a dry laundry list of titles & release date, but rather if people believe that this 54-56 period is considered his finest work? Dates and numbers in a thick volume don't do ze objective analysis for you, Herr Chuck, mein freund! ^_^

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Mobley talks in the article about a couple of (at the time) unissued sessions he did for Blue Note:

He says he "wrote a whole movie in Paris. It was about the French-Algerian war," The personnel he mentions is almost like the lineup for the "A Caddy for Daddy" session, (he mentions Cedar, but McCoy is on the "ACFD" session). Is "A Caddy For Daddy" the music he wrote for the movie, or is there some other stuff?

Then he talks about a "brass ensemble" record with two tpts, two bones, horn, euphonium and tuba, and James Spaulding on alto. A quick scroll through jazzdisco.org shows a March '66 session for "A Slice of the Top" with an octet, but there's only one trumpet and no trombones. Is that the session Mobley is talking about, or are there others?

Inquiring minds want to know...

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Mobley talks in the article about a couple of (at the time) unissued sessions he did for Blue Note:

He says he "wrote a whole movie in Paris. It was about the French-Algerian war," The personnel he mentions is almost like the lineup for the "A Caddy for Daddy" session, (he mentions Cedar, but McCoy is on the "ACFD" session). Is "A Caddy For Daddy" the music he wrote for the movie, or is there some other stuff?

Then he talks about a "brass ensemble" record with two tpts, two bones, horn, euphonium and tuba, and James Spaulding on alto. A quick scroll through jazzdisco.org shows a March '66 session for "A Slice of the Top" with an octet, but there's only one trumpet and no trombones. Is that the session Mobley is talking about, or are there others?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Iirc, correctly this was hashed out years ago on the BNBB. While some wanted to cling to the hope that something might have been recorded for another label or something, Michael was pretty firm on the fact that if there was such a session, the tapes are gone, and that in all likelihood, Hank was referring to the Slice of the Top session, which wasn't issued at the time.

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Iirc, correctly this was hashed out years ago on the BNBB. While some wanted to cling to the hope that something might have been recorded for another label or something, Michael was pretty firm on the fact that if there was such a session, the tapes are gone, and that in all likelihood, Hank was referring to the Slice of the Top session, which wasn't issued at the time.

Thanks, Dan.

Damn, I was going to use the $33 price tag of a "Slice of the Top" CD as my excuse for buying the Mobley Mosaic box. Then I realized the box is just the '50s sessions and SOTT is from the '60s.

This is gonna cost me... :lol:

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Iirc, correctly this was hashed out years ago on the BNBB. While some wanted to cling to the hope that something might have been recorded for another label or something, Michael was pretty firm on the fact that if there was such a session, the tapes are gone, and that in all likelihood, Hank was referring to the Slice of the Top session, which wasn't issued at the time.

Thanks, Dan.

Damn, I was going to use the $33 price tag of a "Slice of the Top" CD as my excuse for buying the Mobley Mosaic box. Then I realized the box is just the '50s sessions and SOTT is from the '60s.

This is gonna cost me... :lol:

What? You haven't gotten the Mobley box yet? WTF?? :o;):g

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