Hank Mobley
A Neglected Jazz Composer
Hank Mobley is best known as a tenor sax player. He performed with many of the greats, including Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie. He was a member of Horace Silver's quintet and a founding member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. In the 1960s he played with Miles Davis and freelanced in Europe. By the 1970s, illness was limiting his ability to perform.

There is a resurgence of interest in Mobley, as evidenced by the growing number of Web sites devoted to him, but he deserves more recognition as a jazz composer. His melodic lines are ingenious and memorable. "Hipsippy Blues" is an excellent example. A minor blues in the hard bop style, it plays Monk-ish tricks with a single lick, turning it around and around somewhat the way Monk works and re-works a single riff in "Straight No Chaser."

As a tribute to Mobley I've arranged "Hipsippy Blues" for big band. The sound clip contains the first two choruses, while the image file shows the beginning of the second chorus, where the the clarinet and saxes join the flute. (The 1.3 MB file takes a while to download. If it skips or plays badly, try playing it a second time [no additional dowload necessary] for improved playback.

See and listen to"Hipsippy Blues" (1.3 MB) arranged for big band. Arr. by Martin Maner, copyright 1999.

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Last updated 5 Oct. 1999