SKF NOTE: There was a period of time I was listening to lots of Hank Mobley albums. Both Mobley with other bands — like Miles Davis’s — and albums made under his own name. Way back in the early 1970s my friend in Davenport, IA, Charlie Bloom, put on his turntable Hank Mobley’s “Workout” Blue Note album. That was the first time I really heard Philly Joe Jones. I was blown away by Philly Joe’s solo on the title track.
Long after I had forgotten the name of Mobley’s “Workout” album, I remembered how great was Philly Joe. Not only for what he played, but also for how he sounded.
Decades later, after Blue Note began reissuing albums in CD format, I found and bought “Workout.” It is as great as it was that first hearing in Charlie Bloom’s upstairs apartment.
Little by little I worked my way through much of Mobley’s recorded output. Among those albums, 1963’s “No Room for Squares” sticks out (no pun intended) as a real musical gem. It’s one of those Blue Note records with songs by two different bands. In this case, both bands are first class.
I hadn’t heard “No Room for Squares” in years. Last night I put it on my iPod and, listening while driving, all the magic I remembered from this album came pouring through my car sound system.
Listen to — no, study! — Philly Joe Jones on the opening track “Three Way Split” of this album. What he plays, how he sounds — for my ears he’s perfect. Great fills too. And Philly’s solo, starting at about 6:01 in the video, is perfect.