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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Soul Station
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 18 May 2010
The difficulty for jazz writers in being unable to pigeon hole Hank Mobley, or in being unable to classify his music to some extent has been one of the reasons why he has had less exposure than some of his contemporaries.
However he worked carefully and with great diligence taking what he needed from whomever he needed it from to build a style unique unto himself.
There is a saying that goes, the best music is never far from dance, and in this case the concept is easy to see in the easiness and flexibility of his music.
This is not to say Hank Mobley plays dance music, rather to say that his sound is more conducive to dance than that of many of his associates.
The tracks of this album have been carefully assembled, with one idea in mind, to showcase the unique style and talent of this extraordinary craftsman.
Listen and enjoy.
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on 30 July 2011
Mobley produced huge quantities of very, very fine music (and virtually no duds). But what elevates this one to a notch above all the rest? It's that elusive quality of a performance that just "clicks" from the very start, that you fall in love with the first time you hear, but that you can never, never tire of hearing (other obvious examples that immediately come to mind include Serge Chaloff's "Blue Serge", Sonny Rollins' "Saxophone Colossus" and, of course, Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue"). If you had to try and do the impossible and deconstruct the alchemy of Soul Station, you would probably have to point to Mobley's endless flow of seemingly effortless melodic and rhythmic invention, which somehow makes the whole feel of this particular album completely unique.
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VINE VOICEon 17 September 2003
Hank Mobley had a famously disorganised, drug-oriented lifestyle that maybe prevented him getting a longer slot in the Miles Davis band (he joined in 1961 and left the year afterwards), but he had a wonderful style and big, rich tone that this recording, made in 1960, showcases on mainly his own compositions. Art Blakey (Mobley had been in the Mesengers) ensures things never get too laid back as Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers join in a very soulful outing. The remastered sound, by the way, is warm and intimate.
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on 15 October 2017
Hank Mobley. Pure brilliance.
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on 12 November 2015
I find Hank Mobley a bit perplexing. His best work always seems to be when Philly Joe Jones is behind the drum kit. He continues to enjoy an almost hagiographical reputation amongst fans whilst critical opinion seems to becoming more judgemental . Personally, I would have to say that I am increasingly won over by his playing although I do feel that are moments when he almost seems uninterested such as on Donald Byrd's " A new conception." It is almost impossible to imagine that this is the same player who is so creative on Kenny Dorham's "Whistle stop."

"Soul station" is often considered to be Mobley's masterpiece, the band stripped down to a quartet with the brilliant Wynton Kelly on piano. (Perhaps the greatest "band" pianist ever.) Stalwart Paul Chambers fulfils the bass duties and Art Blakey is on drums. Blakey can be pretty bombastic and aggressive, forcing soloists to approach the music on his terms. Sometimes this really appeals to me yet I felt that this record probably offers the most "musical " effort I've heard him produce. The combination of the relaxed Mobley and the friskier "Philly Joe" Jones is the ideal combination. Otherwise, the rating of this disc is down to personal favourites. I think "Workout" is the album I like the most and "No room for squares" is pretty ambitious , featuring the more outside Andrew Hill. "Soul Station" remains pretty much within the mainstream whilst absolutely nailing the idiom. Sometimes Mobley's writing could be a bit lazy ("check out "Roll call") and this album's inclusion of "This is dig of you" features the one Mobley track that might be considered a standard.

Although I don't feel Mobley shared Sonny Rollin's improvisatory genius, this album is a bit like the latter's "The Bridge" where the ambition of the record is more modest yet the results are pretty much perfect. Mobley was never at the cutting edge of jazz and when he joined Miles Davis' quintet the results demonstrated the gulf between him and the likes of Coltrane and Shorter who preceded and followed on from him in this band. Despite this, "Soul Station" is ample evidence that he was able to put together perfect small groups which are perfectly honed and very enjoyable to listen to. The smoky ambience of this record is really redolent of the Hard Bop of this era. Mobley's bandmates match the tenor man's impressive performance on a record where everything seemed to gel. This is probably a 4 1/2 star record. "Workout" may have the better tunes and the added attraction of "Philly Joe" and Wynton Kelly, but I think this probably comes in joint second with "No room for squares."
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on 4 March 2009
This is one of my favourite Blue Note albums. This really got me in to Hank Mobley, so much so that I've just ordered two more of his albums. I like the way he plays. It's straight forward but never dull. His music has soul and is quite funky. I also love the drumming which is undertaken by Art Blakey who is possibly the best ever jazz drummer. The sound quality too is excellent. For the money (£3.98) it is a giveaway.
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VINE VOICEon 21 April 2007
This beautfully timed record stands shoulder to shoulder with, "No room for squares," as the classic in Mobley's body of work.

Hank's sweet, soulful sax effortlessly hums along on the operner and,"This I dig of you," accompanied by Chambers bass that just pings. Blakey had perfected his technique at this point and was at the very height of his powers, he works with the rest of the rhythm section like a magnificent steam train.

It all slides along to perfection on the effortlessly classy,"Dig Dis," Mobley's round sax bouncing to the rhythm. When you listen to his playing it all sounds so leisurely, like he never has the need to stretch himself

"Split Feelin," is a rolling bluesy number, again technically flawless. The track dovetails nicely into the more languid, shuffling title track. The absence of a trumpet really allows the bandleader to take centre stage. Things are wrapped up nicely with the smooth,"If I should loose you," another taste of seamless blowing.

You won't find anything that changed the world on this, it's a standard session with a couple of standards, some funkier numbers and a ballad thrown in between. This record stands out for it's technical perfection. For slices of pure magic, there are fewer other records in the Blue Note back-catalogue that rival this.
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on 18 June 2005
This album (along with Roll Call and Workout) is the epitome of un-showy saxophone mastery. Mobley plays slightly behind the beat, and his subtle use of harmonics and slightly foggy undertone make him an acquired taste, but this album is funky, soulful, swinging and tough. He never shows off, and never plays just to hear himself play, but there is thinking as well as feeling in his playing, as This I Dig Of You, for example, amply demonstrates. This album belongs in every jazz fan's collection. Absolutely first-rate!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 June 2011
What might have been a routine 1960 session is elevated to near-heroic status by the presence of the redoubtable, extremely funky Art Blakey at the drums, and some witty, pertinent piano from Wynton Kelly, not to mention the subtle bass of Paul Chambers, the latter two filched from the Miles outfit (having both played on Kind Of Blue - a badge of immortality if ever there was one).
Hank Mobley (1930-86) has a pleasing tone, a nice whispery feel on some notes, not totally unlike Art Pepper`s approach to tenor sax, sometimes placid rather than confrontational, placing the melody just so, saying as much as he needs to without overstating the case.
Wynton Kelly charms flocks of birds off several trees in all his flighty solos, a joy to hear. Blakey, as ever, is punchy, percussive, solid as a rock.
This is mainstream jazz to play to someone new to the music. It frightens no horses,
but has a smooth, sunny feel to most tracks (four out of the six by Mobley himself)
and is honest, open, swinging jazz from a vintage era.
With one of Blue Note`s typically apposite covers and a gleaming remastering, you can`t go wrong with this one.
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on 24 August 2010
Hank Mobley suffered the misfortune of being around when giants walked this earth. Unfairly criticised on the grounds that he was neither Sonny Rollins nor John Coltrane, he followed his own path anyway.

Mobley's tenor sax playing was slyly allusive and supple as opposed to rhetorical, and it's all here on the opening `Remember' where the often over-ebullient Art Blakey on drums accommodates Mobley's singular rhythmic conception. The resulting music is both sly and insistent.

Mobley was some composer too, and it's a wonder no-one's ever set a lyric to`This I Dig Of You' which here has the asset of a glorious Wynton Kelly piano solo. When the leader gets the chance to take off he does so in his own idiosyncratic fashion, rhythmically pulling this way and that while Blakey's work is as good as telepathic.

So while he wasn't an innovator Hank Mobley did make the case for the individual on an instrument which has been played to death in jazz / improvised music terms. That's a cause for celebration in itself, but then so is `Soul Station'
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