Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

311

Cedar Walton/Hank Mobley Quintet: Breakthrough!

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Although recorded 14 years before he died, 1972's Breakthrough was one of the final recordings the lamentably under-appreciated tenor great Hank Mobley made (he also guested on a 1980 Tete Montoliu record). Mobley, an especially lyrical and melodic tenor titan, had recorded prolifically - and consistently well — between 1955 and 1970, mostly (and most substantially) for Blue Note. But health and financial problems severely curtailed his playing during the last decade and a half of his life.

Mobley had just returned from short stay in Paris when he began briefly co-leading this group with pianist Cedar Walton. Mobley and Walton had worked together before on the tenor's 1967 dates, Third Season and Far Away Lands, finding a successful simpatico together. Unfortunately, their 1972 partnership didn't last long and it never had the chance to ascend the heights reached by Walton shortly thereafter with Magic Triangle or Eastern Rebellion. But this one surviving document promised much greatness that never ultimately materialized.

Breaktrhough is a solid, effective hard bop date. But it seems too dependant and dominated by equally underrated baritone/soprano sax man Charles Davis. Nothing wrong with that. But Mobley seems too much a sideman here, briefly coming to the fore on "Early Morning Stroll" (where he and Davis finally gel) and especially well-suited to "Summertime."

Mobley's title piece has the familiar feel of those loose, Prestige bop jams of the 1950s. Everybody solos, but Davis is considerably dominant. Jobim's "Sabia" drops Mobley for a pleasant samba that spotlights Davis and features Walton on electric piano. Walton's wonderful "House on Maple Street," shifts Davis to soprano, brings Mobley back and, in an especially nice touch, catches Walton punctuating on electric piano like an African kalimba. Finally, the "Love Story" theme returns Walton to acoustic piano for trio jazz that's executed with greater style than this sappy theme has ever displayed elsewhere.

It's hard to fault bop when it's this good, with musicians in the league of Walton, Davis and Mobley. As the swan song it ended up becoming for Mobley, though, Breakthrough is just not enough.

Tracks:Brakthrough; Sabia; House On Maple Street; Theme From Love Story; Summertime; Early Morning Stroll.

Players:Cedar Walton: piano, electric piano; Hank Mobley: tenor sax; Charles Davis: britone sax, soprano sax; Sam Jones: bass; Billy Higgins: drums.

Title: Breakthrough! | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: 32 Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
David Hazeltine and Mike Kaplin: Two Perspectives On Cedar Walton

David Hazeltine and...

Sharp Nine Records
2015

buy
David Hazeltine and Mike Kaplan: Two Perspectives On Cedar Walton

David Hazeltine and...

Sharp Nine Records
2015

buy
Reliving the Moment

Reliving the Moment

HighNote Records
2014

buy
 

The Bouncer

Astor Place
2011

buy
 

Animation /...

Astor Place
2010

buy
Voices Deep Within

Voices Deep Within

HighNote Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019
Read Pulcino Album Reviews
Pulcino
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 22, 2019
Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019