In honor of PMAC’s Annual Jazz Night concert “Celebrating 80 Years of Blue Note Records,” we continue our blog series that highlights some of our faculty’s favorite Blue Note albums. Today, Eric Klaxton honors the work of Hank Mobley, and the Blue Note Album that inspired him, “Soul Station”
“I’d be hard pressed to pick my top 5 Blue Note records. Picking one record seems impossible. Blue Note has been documenting the development of Jazz and related improvised music here in the US for nearly 80 years. Right around age 11 or 12 I heard tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley’s “Soul Station”, which became a favorite record of mine for the better part of 10 years. It features a supremely swinging rhythm section with Art Blakey on drums, Mr. PC (Paul Chambers) on bass, and Wynton Kelly on piano. The tunes were all singable and really infectious. It was a very easy record for my young ears to enjoy over and over again, and later became some of the first music I would transcribe on my saxophone. Oddly enough, the record has no ballad, which looking back on it seems unusual, but almost definitely contributed to its accessibility. It was definitely one of the first jazz records I would listen to cover to cover.
“Soul Station”, like most of the Blue Note records I know, was produced by Alfred Lion, engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, and featured the photography of Francis Wolff on the cover. As much as I have adored the playing on all of my favorite Blue Note records, I think it is worth mentioning that their overall aesthetic was a carefully curated package which often framed the playing in the coolest of ways. Blue Note had a look as much as it had a sound. Both were reliably excellent and never stale. There’s a few more records I’d like to tip my hat to, as they all showed up in my life at the same time when I was 15 or 16 and to this day, continue to rock my world.” – Eric Klaxton
Check back this Friday to find out what the next Blue Note album is to make our list!