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Hank Mobley Swings

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

I was recently reading a piece that mentioned the jazz music of Hank Mobley. I had never heard of Hank Mobley so I did what most of us would do-I plugged the name Hank Mobley into Google.

From Wikipedia- Henry "Hank" Mobley (July 7, 1930 – May 30, 1986) was an American hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophonist and composer. Mobley was described by Leonard Feather as the "middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone”. I hope when I die I am described as the “middleweight champion” of something.

After researching who Hank Mobley was, I was curious about his music. After all, anyone who is described as the “middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone” must have been pretty good. So next I went to Google’s cousin YouTube and plugged in Hank Mobley again. I got a handful of links and since I had no idea about his music or where to start, I clicked on one of the songs.

Jazz is a genre of music that I always thought would be cool to like but I never spent a whole lot of time listening to it. When I lived in Boston I would occasionally go to a bar in Harvard Square that had jazz bands on Wednesday nights. Once in a while I would hear something on the radio that I really liked and would think that now is the time that I am going to get into jazz. And that would be it until I watched one of the Charlie Brown Holiday specials featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi. I would remember then that I was trying to get into jazz and would listen to the Vince Guaraldi Trio until the end of December, and then nothing.

As I started listening to some Hank Mobley tunes, YouTube’s algorithm started populating other songs for me. I’m sure it happens with other listening apps but since YouTube is what I mostly use, I know how it uploads the songs for me. After listening to a bunch of Hank Mobley, I started to get some music from Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, and Cannonball Adderley.

Maybe now is the time where I am going to become a jazz fan. Maybe I have crossed that threshold in my life where the combination of horns, piano, and drums speaks to me. I do find myself listening to the Hank Mobley mix on the YouTube music channel more and more these days. I used to think jazz was just elevator music but there is something about listening to this middleweight that says nothing about elevator music.

Discovering Hank Mobley has reminded me that I need to keep exercising my curiosity muscles. The opportunity to learn about new things or new skills is always there if we give ourselves permission to act upon our curiosity.

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