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Workout—The Music of Hank Mobley by Derek Ansell

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Johnny Griffin

These revealing literary outings from British publisher North-way cover the musical and physical lives of tenor sax greats Hank Mobley and Johnny Griffin in detail and with somewhat mixed results, although both are worthy efforts.

The better of the two offers a thorough view of the recorded work of the ill-fated and sorely neglected Mobley, a misunderstood stylist who, as Ansell points out, probably failed to gain jazz fame through a combination of his own quiet, loner persona, his lack of self-promotion and the fact that he sought to be markedly different from other tenorists of the time, in particular Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, the torchbearers of the ’50s/’60s era. As Ansell notes, Mobley’s unorthodox “round sound,” a combination of Charlie Parker and Lester Young elements, seems to have kept him out of the limelight.

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