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Hank Mobley Quintet: Newark 1953

Recorded on one hard-swinging late-September evening at Newark’s Piccadilly Club, the two-disc Hank Mobley set showcases the talented tenor saxophonist evolving into a major force, alongside the transitional and complicated piano stylings of Walter Davis Jr., the pungent trombone of elder statesman Bennie Green, Charli Persip’s indefatigable drumming and the under-heard, under-acclaimed bass of Jimmy Schenck. While Mobley dominates, veteran Green is often more than a co-equal, sparkling on tracks such as “Ow!,” the rowdy Dizzy Gillespie starter, and a long “Pennies From Heaven.” “Ow!” jumps once Mobley double-times, curling lines over each other to accelerate the tune.

Recorded over three November nights at the Rising Sun, a Montreal jazz club, the single Dexter Gordon disc captures the commanding tenorman in full ballad prowess, setting his languorous inventions against the modernistic, rhapsodic clustering of pianist George Cables. Backed by bassist Rufus Reid and the little-known drummer Eddie Gladden, the Gordon set is debonair, continental and routinely gorgeous. The interplay between Gordon and Cables is a regular highlight here; both musicians are masters of cadenza, rulers of rubato, arbiters of arpeggio.

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