Sax Advent Calendar 2019 #3 – Hank Mobley

‘Middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone’

Hank Mobley was born in Eastman, Georgia in 1930, but grew up in Newark, New Jersey. He started playing professionally aged 19 with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach, but it is with Horace Silver, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers that he made his name.

In 1961 he briefly replaced John Coltrane in Miles Davis’ band, but it was as a leader and sideman on the Blue Note album that Mobley’s sound came to be synonymous. Recording over 20 albums with Blue Note Records, arguably Mobley’s finest work was his ‘Soul Station’ album in 1960.

Mobley had to retire from playing full time in the mid 1970s, but he did continue to occasionally play live until his death from pneumonia in 1986.