Hank Mobley

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About Hank Mobley

A mainstay of hard bop and soul jazz, tenor saxophonist Henry “Hank” Mobley was born in Eastman, Georgia, in 1930, although he grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where his grandmother purchased his first horn when he was 16. Within a few years he was playing in public, and by 1951 he’d hit the New York scene, working with drummer Max Roach before going on to play with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, Horace Silver, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and the Miles Davis Quintet. In 1955 he dropped the first in a long line of recordings for Blue Note while continuing to work prolifically as a sideman. Mobley’s discography captures the velvety tone he applied to deeply bluesy phrasing. In the 1960s his playing became more turbulent, even as he became an eloquent advocate for the emerging soul jazz craze on classic albums like The Turnaround! (1965) and Caddy for Daddy (1967). Due to lung problems, Mobley had largely retired from music by the mid-1970s, although he played some engagements in the months before his death from pneumonia in 1986.

Eastman, GA, United States
July 7, 1930
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