Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Eli Degibri: Soul Station (Degibri)

Review of the Israeli saxophonist's full-length cover of a 1960 Hank Mobley album

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Cover of Eli Degibri album Soul Station
Cover of Eli Degibri album Soul Station

You can understand why musicians cover entire albums when the subject is an epic like Kind of Blue or A Love Supreme. It’s a little harder to see what would prompt someone to do a track-by-track remake of saxophonist Hank Mobley’s Soul Station. It may be Mobley’s best record, but it doesn’t crack the 200 recommended recordings in either Ben Ratliff’s book of essential LPs or The Rough Guide to Jazz, and Mobley merits barely a passing mention in Ted Gioia’s landmark book The History of Jazz. Israeli saxophonist Eli Degibri, however, says Soul Station is his touchstone and lifelong inspiration. His challenge in covering the whole thing is to find something new to say through it.

Degibri’s timbre is slighter and more pointed than Mobley’s round, warm tone, but his performance is no less expressive. His blowing is often reserved, to the point where one sometimes strains to hear him cut through the rhythm section. He takes several tunes at a slightly faster tempo than Mobley did, though one selection—“If I Should Lose You,” the best tune here—is slowed to a lush ballad. He switches to soprano sax a couple of times, whereas Mobley stuck to tenor. It would be hard to top Mobley’s rhythm section of pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Blakey, but Mobley’s group steps up. Pianist Tom Oren and bassist Tamir Shmerling both turn in nifty solos on the title tune, and drummer Eviatar Slivnik throws in extra fills on “Remember” rather than trying to imitate the legend who preceded him. Degibri adds an original composition, a nice piece called “Dear Hank” that sounds like it might be derived from “Blues in the Night.” Degibri’s is a good album, but aside from that gorgeously languid cover of “If I Should Lose You,” he hasn’t done enough to make Soul Station his own.

Originally Published