HANK MOBLEY — Workout (review)

HANK MOBLEY — Workout album cover Album · 1961 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Matt
One of his best and it came straight after "Soul Station" the following year. "Workout" always reminds me of city streets on a wet night like all great jazz does and Hank Mobley could play just that with some great lyricism in his playing that always flowed beautifully from his tenor saxophone with swing, blues, soul and even a little funk when needed in his phrasing. As every reviewer will say Hank did not have the big sound of John Coltrane but he sure was not airy fairy. Hank had great tone and he did have a great robust swinging sound as evidenced by this album from straight off the bat with four compositions Hank wrote and not a ballad amongst them, just great jazz of the swinging variety. The band is exceptional with the fairly new at the time "Grant Green",guitar, "Wynton Kelly",piano,"Paul Chambers",bass and "Philly Joe Jones" on drums. Hardly surprisng that "Wynton, Paul and Philly" were here as all playing with "Miles Davis" at this time with Hank doing tenor duties in the band as well. Every band member is right at the top of his game during this session with the rythmn section providing just that in one of the most vibrant manners that could you could wish for. Alfred Lion must have been jumping in the studio to this jazz workout.

The title is the first jazz, "Workout" with Philly first and Hank with the intro and the band comes in for the theme and things fly along with Hanks great lenghty solo, Grant follows on guitar with a jagged approach to start but flow quickly comes into his solo with Wynton next on piano. Philly has a shot on drums with a great result but even if he did not contribute one solo to this session he and Paul Chambers on bass shove, push and drive this album along with that superb timing and placement. This album is really a lesson for anyone contemplating how to play rythmn in jazz with these two masters of their respective instruments showing us how. 'Uh Huh" is next and one great snap on the kit Philly has for this groover with Hank and him doing the commencement.The theme is quickly stated but always returning to a reminder with Hanks great flowing solo. A touch of funk with this one in the rythmn. Grant Green was so good at this period in time and his solo is just another total groover. Wynton makes a great contribution as well with some beautiful placement and a lively solo. Paul Chambers also has a shot on bass with some great boppin' with his time. Another up tempo mover and groover in the blues style follows along and that is "Smokin" which exactly what this composition is. Hank lets you know right from the start and goes for another beauty on his tenor. Wynton Kelly is right on fire with this quick composition and Grant Green dishes out another great one with some quick skippy picking and Wynton is smokin'. The rythmn section of Paul and Philly are shoving them along with Paul Chambers timing and swing, perhaps jaw dropping is the best description for his playing on the whole album."The Best Things In Life Are Free" follows and is the only tune Hank did not write on the original release and is played with great feel. The last Hank composition is "Greasin' Easy" with blues and funk being the major mix and is another exceptional beautifully played tune with great stuff from the whole band. Even the bonus track,"Three Coins In a Fountain" swings.

One of Hank Mobley's best sessions and with the addition of Grant Green the album had a fairly unique approach for Hank. This one is a real gem from Blue Note and if you were to say "Soul Station" or "Workout"? I will take "Workout" because it is precisely what the title implies. Classic Swinging Jazz played as if it is a workout.
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