This 2-CD set, introducing the Savoy Jazz Rare Sessions
series, contains the reissue of four 1956 Savoy albums: The Jazz Message Of Hank Mobley
, Hard Bop
, The Jazz Message Of Hank Mobley, Volume 2
and A-1: The Savoy Sessions
. It includes alternate takes and previously unissued tracks that serve an important purpose. Here, "Cattin’," for example, is played at different tempos: Bird-like on the alternate take with different featured soloists. The version originally issued is looser and more representative of hard bop. "Space Flight," on the other hand, is virtually the same on both takes. Minor flaws in the recorded sound were most likely caused when performers turned away from the microphone. The unissued track of "Blues Number Two" contains serious sound problems as well as artist miscues. But there’s more. The alternate track was performed at a faster bebop tempo without as much soulful expression as that evident in the issued take. By including the alternate track, Savoy is giving the listener an opportunity to hear what was considered desirable in the recording studio: better sound and a genuine, gospel-influenced, blues-based expression.
While the previously unissued take of "B. for B.B." is obviously inferior, both in its poor sound balance and in the faster, uninspired mood; "A-1" appears as two different arrangements, both of great value but independent of each other.
Each session leader is well represented. Sweet ballads and driving jams feature the Byrd/Mobley quintet as well as the Morgan/Mobley quintet. Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley appear on the last 7 tracks. Over two hours in length, Savoy’s reissue offers early glimpses of several pioneers, four very different pianists, and an introduction to what folks began calling hard bop.
Personnel: Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan- trumpet; Hank Mobley- tenor saxophone; John LaPorta- alto saxophone; Horace Silver, Ronnie Ball, Barry Harris, Hank Jones- piano; Wendell Marshall, Doug Watkins- bass; Kenny Clarke, Arthur Taylor- drums.