Format: LP, Vinyl
Hank Mobley’s ‘Workout’ was recorded on 26th March 1961; it is the archetypal Blue Note jam session albeit one of its best. In ‘61, Mobley was at the peak of his powers, notes seem to flood from his tenor saxophone at an astonishing rate and his compositions show a maturity that his fifties material lacks. ‘Workout’ is just that a workout, but the melodies are very memorable too reflecting his developing acumen as a writer. On the playing side, Mobley is complimented by the fluid guitar of Grant Green. Green manages to match the torrent of music from Hank’s tenor and indeed, his guitar has often by likened to a horn instrument rather than string one. The date’s rhythm section comprised three fantastic musicians all of whom at one time or another played with Miles Davis. Philly Joe Jones’ muscular drumming suits this Hard Bop to a tee, whilst bassist Paul Chambers’ playing is made for all seasons. Pianist Wynton Kelly, though steeped in the blues, adds a joyful exuberance to all that he touches. ‘Workout’, the album’s opener is taken at a furious (speed wise) pace, but it is a joyous expression of the art of improvisation. Both Mobley and Green are stretching out, whilst Wynton Kelly does not drop the baton either. ‘Uh Huh’ sounds pedestrian in juxtaposition, yet it is a full-on slice of Soul Jazz with the saxophonist’s bluesy tone exuding soul, whilst drummer Jones holds court with a finger popping beat. Kelly shines again with a sprightly solo full of vigour and vivaciousness. `Smokin’ does precisely that as Mobley fires off another incredibly fast solo. The rhythm section keeps up – just. It also has a catchy melodic line. In many ways the perfect Blue Note track. The take of ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’ is bubbly and finds Mobley’s tenor in sweet and alluring form. He is ably supported by both Green and Kelly. The album’s concluding number ‘Greasin Easy’ has a lazy afternoon feel that is quite enthralling; on most recording dates it would be the standout, but not this one. ‘Workout’ is amongst Hank Mobley’s finest LPs; it is a brilliant selection of music with all five members of the quintet performing at their peak.
01 Workout by Hank Mobley
02 Uh Huh by Hank Mobley
03 Smokin’ by Hank Mobley
04 The Best Things In Life Are Free by Hank Mobley
05 Greasin’ Easy by Hank Mobley