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Hank Mobley, down beat, March 29, 1973

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It seems that Hank Mobley and Archie Shepp were quite close in Paris. A strange combination, here the hard bop Traditionalist, there the Forefront man of the Avantgarde "Angry Tenors"...….

I have read one Essay of Hank Mobley About one day he spent in Paris with Archie Shepp, Don Byas and Paul Gonsalves and that they cooked and prepared meals together. And that he stated that it was one of his most happy days. 

Strange, there is not much other evidence About Hank´s sojourn to Paris. While Bud was almost "overrecorded" there and you have dozens of Hours of live material and some Studio Albums, there is not very much of Hank Mobley. Did he Play at the Café Blue Note ? Was he recorded at some Paris club. 

Another strange Thing I´ve read About him is that in Paris or near Paris he got a room in a Kind of Hospital, a doctor who was a jazz fan arranged for Hank to stay there. Really strange, a world famous musician and he was forced to get help of that kind…...

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8 hours ago, bertrand said:

If Hank was asked to do a film score about Algeria, Shepp would have been the hook up. There is another Algerian thing that Shepp was involved with that has surfaced, waiting for more details when the researcher can get back to doing her research. I will email Shepp's wife.

Yeah, here we go, that's a door still open, Shepp. Hopefully he's still healthy and lucid.

Who were the BYG people, exactly? Besides records, did they have any other media...presence? Would they have had the hookups to try to do a film of this nature, or at least talk it up to get investors they could fleece :g?

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Shepp's memory was fine at the BYG conference in Baltimore last November.

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39_Connect_the_Dots.png

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7 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

 

Another strange Thing I´ve read About him is that in Paris or near Paris he got a room in a Kind of Hospital, a doctor who was a jazz fan arranged for Hank to stay there. Really strange, a world famous musician and he was forced to get help of that kind…...

At that rime, Mobley was not world famous. He had trouble making ends meet.

The hospital room you mention was at the Hopital La Rochefoucauld on the avenue du Général Leclerc on the Paris Left Bank. I was with Mobley at one of the Byg recording session (in August 1969) where he was invited to play by  Archie Shepp and I went with him from the Studio Davout and the two of us traveled back on the Métropolitain to the hospital. I could not enter the hospital at night..

I already mentioned this in a Mobley in Europe thread  here several years ago.

Incidentally we did not speak about thé Algerian war then.

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6 hours ago, brownie said:

At that rime, Mobley was not world famous. He had trouble making ends meet.

The hospital room you mention was at the Hopital La Rochefoucauld on the avenue du Général Leclerc on the Paris Left Bank. I was with Mobley at one of the Byg recording session (in August 1969) where he was invited to play by  Archie Shepp and I went with him from the Studio Davout and the two of us traveled back on the Métropolitain to the hospital. I could not enter the hospital at night..

I already mentioned this in a Mobley in Europe thread  here several years ago.

Incidentally we did not speak about thé Algerian war then.

I was going to ask if he told you he was working on a film soundtrack :)

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Curtis Fuller is still around...

Kevin said:

'well... except... according to the liner notes of the Mosaic box set of Woody Shaw's Muse recordings, there was a short period in 1965 where Lion supposedly gave back a few master tapes to people he recently recorded. But if Mobley was one of them, he had the masters so he should have said that in that interview.'

So are there missing tapes from this period? I am thinking Sweet Honey Bee (12/66) and Jody Grind (11/66). Lion sold the label in '66 but kept producing until the late summer of '67. My hunch is the period where Lion would have been giving back the Masters is when he was working for Liberty. It jibes with the two sessions above which we are 99% sure had to be dubbed from LP. So who would have the tapes? Horace's son for Jody Grind? Duke's son Anthony? In both cases, I think we can consider them lost.

So what was the first session Alfred produced as a Liberty employee? We know the last were Procrastinator (7/14/67), Oblique (7/21/67) and a Turrentine session released in hodgepodge form (7/2867). Slice Of The Top is 3/18/66. Mobley complained it was unissued, but he did not say he had the tape...

I told you there were many mysteries about Blue Note. Time to write a book.

 

 

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And you gotta remember - Cuscuna's research (at least as it has been publicly documented) was about the label's activities. I don't know how much he can give us a detailed account about Hank's European sojourn like he could the activities at and around Blue Note records.

What there seems to be no confusion about is that he (Hank) wrote this music while in Paris, and that it was intended as some kind of film music for some kind of a French film about the French-Algerian war.

What nobody seems to have documented is a lot, really:

  • Who approached Hank to write this music?
    • Were they legit filmmakers of any variety? Or were they just hustlers trying to get names together to get money for a project that had no hopes of ever materializing?
  • Did the film ever even begin pre-production?
  • Did Hank do any preliminary recordings of the music in France, like demos, or just a few themes? Not did he make an album, did he record anything of this music, professionally or otherwise?
  • What prompted Hank to do the "Thinking Of Home Suite" for Blue Note? Was this all the music that he wrote, a final distillation borne of frustration, or just what?

To look for all the answers about that and limit the scope to Blue Note/NYC and Blue Note albums is a bit myopic, perhaps? That little bit of history almost seems like a postscript to a story that has yet to really be told...

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These are all the right questions.

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Interestingly, Hank gave a concert at the Smithsonian on 6/7/70 with Bill Hardman, Stanley Cowell, Mickey Bass and Jimmy Hopps. This is less than two months before Thinking Of Home was recorded.

I have a review, but it does not talk much about the tunes played. They thought Hopps was way too loud. 

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On 5/16/2020 at 11:34 AM, bertrand said:

Curtis Fuller is still around...

Kevin said:

'well... except... according to the liner notes of the Mosaic box set of Woody Shaw's Muse recordings, there was a short period in 1965 where Lion supposedly gave back a few master tapes to people he recently recorded. But if Mobley was one of them, he had the masters so he should have said that in that interview.'

So are there missing tapes from this period? I am thinking Sweet Honey Bee (12/66) and Jody Grind (11/66). Lion sold the label in '66 but kept producing until the late summer of '67. My hunch is the period where Lion would have been giving back the Masters is when he was working for Liberty. It jibes with the two sessions above which we are 99% sure had to be dubbed from LP. So who would have the tapes? Horace's son for Jody Grind? Duke's son Anthony? In both cases, I think we can consider them lost.

So what was the first session Alfred produced as a Liberty employee? We know the last were Procrastinator (7/14/67), Oblique (7/21/67) and a Turrentine session released in hodgepodge form (7/2867). Slice Of The Top is 3/18/66. Mobley complained it was unissued, but he did not say he had the tape...

I told you there were many mysteries about Blue Note. Time to write a book.

 

 

 

You really tie it together.  Thats an interesting theory about the tapes.   Isnt Jody Grind the last BN mono as well.  Now I always premised that LIBERTY was to blame in this somehow, as far as Lion giving tapes goes dont they say he gave Horace Silver the, "horace live at peps"(?) tapes

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3 hours ago, chewy-chew-chew-bean-benitez said:

 

You really tie it together.  Thats an interesting theory about the tapes.   Isnt Jody Grind the last BN mono as well.  Now I always premised that LIBERTY was to blame in this somehow, as far as Lion giving tapes goes dont they say he gave Horace Silver the, "horace live at peps"(?) tapes

No, Michael Cuscuna gave those tapes to Horace. And it sounds like when Lion gave artist back their tapes, it was so that they could release the music themselves. I doubt that he would have given artists tapes of stuff that was released as they would have no rights to it. Blue Note would still own it. It almost sounds like the artists who recorded during the short period of time that Lion was selling to Liberty, some artists tapes didn't fall under Blue Note ownership, so Lion could give them back. I doubt that Liberty would allow anything they legally bought be given away.

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I am not quite following. I thought it was master tapes of Blue Note sessions that were given back to the artists? Alfred would have given Hank the tape for Slice Of The Top?

Edited by bertrand

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I asked Mickey Bass on Facebook about the Algerian film music, but he does not remember that. It has been 50 years. He was at the Smithsonian concert and on the record. No one else still around from the record. Cowell still around from the concert. Not sure about Jimmy Hopps.

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To clarify the "Lion gave the tapes back" statement...

According to Woody Shaw's son in the liner notes for the Mosaic box, "Woody Shaw - The Complete Muse Sessions":

"Cassandrite is Woody Shaw's first actual record date as a leader. It was to have been the start of Woody Shaw as a Blue Note recording artist. But a full album was never completed. Within weeks, Alfred Lion completed the sale of Blue Note to Liberty Records and was already regretting the decision. He gave these tapes back to Woody and cancelled deals with a handful of other artists with whom he was in discussions."

So from this, we can assume that artists that were newly-signed to recording contracts in late 1965, like Woody Shaw, had their deals cancelled and if they had already gone into the studio, they were given back their master tapes. Mobley was not a newly-signed artist in late 1965 so he would not have been given back recently recorded master tapes. In fact, he recorded "A Caddy For Daddy" during the same month that Shaw went into the studio for Blue Note (Dec. 1965).

My only reason for me bringing it up above was that it could be one way for a recording to not make it into the tape logs. I was not saying that this is what happened here. I am sorry to have brought it up at all.

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This clarifies it. The Masters that were returned were for demos that were not necessarily going to lead to a Liberty/Blue Note contract.

I am glad you brought it up, because now I want to see what other demos of the quality of Cassandranite could be out there. I will ask Joe Chambers next time I talk to him.

Edited by bertrand

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4 hours ago, bertrand said:

This clarifies it. The Masters that were returned were for demos that were not necessarily going to lead to a Liberty/Blue Note contract.

And that brings us back full-circle to the original liner notes for the Woody In The Beginning LP, which does refer to the material as "demos" (although kinda avoiding the issue of who made them to begin with). No mention of an actual; contract anywhere, correct?

Like you, I wonder who else was in that mix? Or, for that matter, how many other demo sessions were made for/by Blue Note, period, intended for some kind of iissue or not.

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As I said, Blue Note is full of mysteries.

So when Lion was on the verge of signing over to Liberty, he got some artists who were not already signed to Blue Note (Woody Shaw and who else) to make some recordings which were not sessions organized under the auspices of Blue Note but separately. Then, he gave the tapes back to the artists because he thought either Liberty would not sign them or Liberty said they would not sign them. Edit: Cassandranite was not recorded at the RVG studios.

This story is full of holes but it does bring up another question: did any new artist join the Blue Note roster after Lion sold BN but while he was still working at Liberty i.e. between early 1966, exact date TBD, and late July 1967. We know Frank Wolff signed several artists (Tyrone Washington, Lonnie Smith) as did Duke Pearson (Frank Foster). Who decided the Tyrone Washington train wreck was unreleasable? Frank? Duke? The Liberty bean counters? Tyrone himself? And who nixed the Wayne Shorter rejected session? Wayne was supposedly not happy with it, but was he the one who said 'don't put it out'.

Are there any artists who were on the BN roster under Lion who were promptly dropped when Liberty bought Blue Note? Who was really making the A & R decisions at the time? In the interview I have with Duke Pearson, he is lamenting that a lot of his records are in the can. So some bean-counter was pulling the strings. Was it Al Bennett? Some info here. The sale is announced in a press release from May 1966, and the Jody Grind was supposedly the last pre-Liberty release, although Wikipedia says it was March 1967. Someone needs to write a Blue Note book. 

https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/record-labels-guide/labelography-2/blue-note-liberty-years/

Edited by bertrand

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On 5/15/2020 at 7:10 AM, JSngry said:

Yeah, here we go, that's a door still open, Shepp. Hopefully he's still healthy and lucid.

Who were the BYG people, exactly? Besides records, did they have any other media...presence? Would they have had the hookups to try to do a film of this nature, or at least talk it up to get investors they could fleece :g?

BYG was operated by Fernand Boruso Jean-Luc Young, and Jean Georgakarokos, and also funded and promoted the Actuel festival of new music in Amougies, Belgium, were connected to the Actuel magazine founded by Claude Delcloo (later run by J-F Bizot) and Current magazine, which was of a more political flavor. Pretty sure the BYG folks stepped out of the publishing biz soon after 1970. Georgakarakos remained involved in music, most notably operating Celluloid (Material, Billy Bang, Golden Palominos, et al.). They were definitely connected to filmmakers and others in French underground media in the 60s and beyond.

I seem to recall that Mobley was more part of that scene than recordings would outlay, and Shepp and Philly Joe Jones would probably have been the connection. 

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1 hour ago, clifford_thornton said:

BYG was operated by....They were definitely connected to filmmakers and others in French underground media in the 60s and beyond.

I seem to recall that Mobley was more part of that scene than recordings would outlay, and Shepp and Philly Joe Jones would probably have been the connection. 

Avenue worth pursuing? Are any of them still alive, the BYG people, or even any of the people they would have known in the film/underground media circles?

Don't know if anybody would still remember what appears to be a project that seems to have not gotten too much the pre-production stage, if that. But it does give a better context in which to further investigate Hank's Film Music.

And whatever backstory can be established certainly will shine light on whatever happened with it here, once he got back home.

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Georgakarakos and Delcloo are no longer living. I'm not sure about Young and Boruso; Young would be in his early 70s now.

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Forget the Algerian war thing for a minute - Mobley played with Brownie and Dameron in Atlantic City?

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I am sorry to say that Mobley did not play with Tadd and Clifford in AC. This seemed unlikely to me, since I researched the Paradise gig extensively when writing Dameronia. I asked Benny Golson about this and he said "I worked at the Paradise in Atlantic City with Tadd Dameron in 1953. Unfortunately, I have no recollection of Hank playing in Atlantic City with Tadd at any time.  Somebody definitely got it wrong." This in an email to me received July 14, 2020. 

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