Frequently, when a musician reaches his musical peak, the remaining body of his work is compared to the material produced during his or her prime. A lot of times, the music that comes after the peak material is judged under extreme bias because fans feel like nothing can get better than the peak material. Take A Tribe Called Quest for example. After Midnight Marauders, many hip hop fans felt that the precedent for innovative and inspiring alternative hip hop had been set to an immovable high. In the Tribe’s next effort, Beats, Rhymes, Life, the production and subject matter was taken in a separate direction with the addition of Jay Dilla behind the boards and the general maturation of the Tribe. Fans cried out that BRL was a departure from form for the Tribe and that their best music was behind them. Years later, BRL was revisited by many hip hop fans and opinions were altered due to the changed chronological context. Now, take that same situation but say that Midnight Marauders wasn’t released until 25 years after its original recording. How do you think opinions would change if one of an artist’s most outstanding works, if not the most outstanding work, went undocumented for years?

This is exactly the case with Hank Mobley’s Another Workout. And when I mentioned artists at their peak, Mobley was on a roll at the time of Another Workout’s recording. Prior to Another Workout, Mobley released a torrent of now jazz standards with Workout, Roll Call, Soul Station, Peckin’ Time, Poppin, and a self titled effort being the most notable prior releases. Mobley’s calling card was his intelligence and patience. He knew what he wanted to play and how he wanted to play it, but he wasn’t stubborn enough to let it get in the way of what sounds or melodies were optimal for each song he played on. Mobley was able to use every last note as the inspiration for the next. It was an eloquent way of performing music instead of an unrelenting musical attack or executing a meticulously planned arrangement, both of which are excellent strategies in accomplishing musical excellence. Behind Mobley’s thoughtful tenor sound was the once Miles Davis led rhythm section filled with greats: Wynton Kelly on the piano, Paul Chambers on the bass and Philly Joe Jones on the drums. The rhythm section feeds off Mobley’s spontaneous innovation by creating a spectacular background of similar intelligently placed rhythmic vicissitudes. The sum of the parts makes for an outstanding work of art, which makes this album’s 25 year delay seem like a felonious crime. The business side of music is a tough one, and unfortunately, Mobley was indirectly affected by the tumbling of Blue Note. This album not reaching ears when it was supposed to changed Mobley’s approach to later projects thus changing the course of his career. How would have Mobley’s career steered if ears were able to hear this music back in ’61 instead of  25 years later? Better yet, how would the fabric of Jazz change? That is a question only God can answer.

Hank Mobley: tenor saxophone

Wynton Kelly: piano

Paul Chambers: bass

Philly Joe Jones: drums

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