Mighty Moe and Joe
Falling In Love With Love
By the time Hank Mobley recorded the session for 1958’s Hank Mobley, he’d already made a pretty decent name for himself—a tenor player whose style was controlled, subtle, but vigorous; someone who could hold weight both as a bandleader and as a sideman for Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, and Max Roach. Mobley himself described his presence as something in between, moderate: “Not a big sound, not a small sound,” he told the jazz writer Leonard Feather. “Just a round sound.”
Backed by a mixed band—including Coltrane affiliates Paul Chambers on bass and Art Taylor on drums—Mobley’s self-titled release (Blue Note 1568) is one of the standouts of his early years as a bandleader, splitting the difference between lower-key material (Rogers and Hart’s “Falling in Love With Love”; vibraphonist Milt Jackson’s coolly insistent “Bags’ Groove,” then a signature song with Miles Davis’ quintet) and brisk post-bop (Mobley’s “Double Exposure” and Shafi Hadi’s “Mighty Moe and Joe”).
Through all, Mobley remains interestingly ambidextrous. Take, for example, his breathy intimations on “Falling in Love With Love” next to his jabs on “Bags’ Groove”—clearly the same musician, playing different sides of himself. Mobley went on to lead a remarkable 20 more records for Blue Note between 1958 and 1970, also taking jobs with players as varied as Miles Davis and Jimmy Smith—a varied resume from one of post-bop’s less acknowledged luminaries