No Room For Squares (CD)


Hank Mobley

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Amoeba Review

John Schacht 05/15/2010

Playing in the same era as Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and a host of other tenor boundary breakers, Hank Mobley was never going to enjoy similar notoriety. Mostly, that’s because he sought to explore and perfect his niche rather than expand it into areas that probably weren’t in him. Even the title of this record suggests the unspoken criticism of Mobley – he was too square in comparison. What he was, and which the record proves beyond a doubt, was an excellent hard bop composer and mellifluous player for whom melody and rhythm always mattered. Take the swinging title track with its crisp rhythmic flourishes at the head, the leader unfurling a cool solo in the face of drummer Philly Joe Jones’ white-hot pace. That contrasts with the opener “Three Way Split,” where Mobley’s solo nearly reaches Jones’ frenzy and matches the soaring Lee Morgan, the trumpet phenom who’d just returned after two years of drug-related exile. Or take the top-notch, Morgan-penned ballad “Carolyn,” where Mobley and the trumpeter circle each other in perfect contrast for the first minute until they finally blend together like mercury drops to state the theme and take their wistful solos. Or take “Up a Step,” a swinging cooker recorded seven months prior to the main tracks on this date with trumpeter Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock (piano) occupying the solo seats (instead of Morgan and Andrew Hill) – different cast, same solid Mobley. And that’s the defining trait about Mobley’s career in this era: excellent consistency. We should all be so lucky.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
1.
Three Way Split
Hank Mobley 07:49
2.
Carolyn
Hank Mobley 05:30
3.
Up a Step
Hank Mobley 08:31
4.
No Room for Squares
Hank Mobley 06:57
5.
Me 'N You
Hank Mobley 07:17
6.
Old World Imports
Hank Mobley 06:08
7.
Carolyn [Alternate Take]
Hank Mobley 05:35
8.
No Room for Squares [Alternate Take]
Hank Mobley 06:45

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