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Hank Mobley: 77 on 07-07-07

MobleyAs some posters at Organissimo have noted, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, if still alive, would have turned 77 today–on 07/07/07, that lucky date of destiny. Maybe Mobley, the so-called “middleweight champion” of his instrument, will posthumously reap the good fortune that eluded him in his lifetime. At least the tenor saxophonist, like fellow Blue Note recording artist Herbie Nichols before him, has been touted so much as an underrated/overlooked talent that it’s fairly safe to say he’s finally transcended the cliche. His “round sound,” as he himself once described it, has won him a number of followers among fans of 1950s and 60s hardbop, but I think he’s still neglected in another sense: his compositional strength. The Blue Note LPs that he made from 1955 to 1970 are filled with strong, vibrant originals such as “Funk in Deep Freeze,” “Peckin’ Time,” “Third Time Around,” and “This I Dig of You.” Melodic, subtle, swinging, and hip–all adjectives one can associate with the Mobley canon. On this godly day, we thank Hank for the music he bequeathed to us.

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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