Mobley’s Message: A Poetic Waxing…

Relaxed, angular, streams of ideas,

They circle and backtrack,

Arriving fashionably late,

But always welcome.

Thinking and shifting, adapting, exploring,

Creating and changing.

Resolutions without conflicts,

A Garden of Jazz.

It’s hard to imagine Hank Mobley as underrated now. He was, although he had quite a career, and recorded often, including albums with Max Roach, Miles Davis, and the Jazz Messengers. During his own lifetime, he was a bit overlooked, his talent obscured by the more famous Tenor players that were active at the time. He was like the George Harrison of the Blue Note roster. As long as Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane were on the scene, he would always be second best. His Blue Note albums are his most familiar, but he also recorded for other labels, including two fantastic albums for Prestige, recorded a week apart in 1956.

“Mobley’s Message”, and ” Mobley’s Second Message” are both on the market in spectacular new pressings from Analogue Productions. This audiophile label has issued many different kinds of music, including rock, blues, and classical, but usually limited their jazz editions to 45 RPM 2 LP sets.  Last summer, they decided to launch a series of Prestige label jazz and blues reissues, all formatted at 33 RPM. Besides Hank Mobley, there are albums by Tommy Flanagan, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Red Garland, Jackie McLean, Elmo Hope, John Coltrane, Phil Woods, and George Wallington. Classic recordings, indeed, all issued many times over the years. Many vinyl fans will have a few of these already as Fantasy’s OJC series from the 1980’s.But seriously, no matter what version you have already, these are better. Personally, I would even prefer these over a mint condition Japanese copy. This series continues through 2015, with the second phase highlighting stereo recordings from the 1960’s. I am looking forward to these as well, as the pressings Prestige did in those years were nothing special, and a few of the scheduled LPs were difficult to find anyway. The stereo series includes albums by Booker Ervin, Eric Dolphy, Willie Dixon, Gil Evans, Gene Ammons, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Arnett Cobb.

This series joins the excellent work at Music Matters (for their 33 RPM Blue Note series), and Khiov Music (a Korean label currently issuing Verve LPs- more on this in the future) as the best pressings money can buy.

– Freddington
Kops Records Vinyl Bulletin