No Need to Flip Over "The Flip"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 10/07/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love Blue Note's limited edition Connoisseur Series, but unfortunately they are running out of things to reissue. Hank Mobley's "The Flip," recorded on July 12, 1969 in a Paris studio, is a mediocre session that will only appeal to Blue Note completists. The album features Hank on tenor sax, Slide Hampton on trombone, Dizzy Reece on trumpet, Vince Benedetti on piano, Alby Cullaz on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums -- all of whom were expatriates at this time with the exception of Cullaz who is French. "Snappin' Out" and "Early Morning Stroll" are enjoyable numbers, but the magic is gone. Even Philly Joe sounds uninspired, or maybe that is just engineer Jacques Yves Barral's poor mic-ing. By 1969 the world was on to new horizons, and the sparkle found on "Soul Station," "Roll Call" and "Workout" was a distant memory. For my money, Hank's last solid session was the now out-of-print "Hi Voltage" from 1967. With so many earlier Mobley titles to choose from, there is no need to flip for "The Flip.""
I heard enough online; I'm not buying this
M.B.E. | Great Neck, NY | 10/17/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"You know, online previews are supposed to highlight the best of something, so that hopefully you buy it, possibly liking nothing else than the highlights. Kind of like the butcher's strategy, where you wrap the steak so that the good side is up, and you can't see the moldy side with all of the maggots. If you could see the maggots on the steak, would you buy it? Well, I heard the maggots right here. The previews sounded awful technically. It was fuzzy on my beloved Altec Lansing speakers. Where was Rudy Van Gelder when we needed him the most? I agree with the good horns and the bad piano. Being a piano and a vibraphonist, I know how to COMPLEMENT soloists, and I know when to get pissed off at another pianist. The piano player who doesn't deserve to be named was very restrictive. Especially on track 2. Mobley definitely felt very restricted. The groove was simply not on at all.
This is the kind of album where if I were to borrow ot from a friend and put it on my iPod, I might do so because I have plenty of space on it, and come on, it's Hank Mobley. If I were to receive it as a gift, I would probably use it as store credit and buy Roll Call. And if I had to buy The Flip, I would prefer to buy it from iTunes so that it doesn't litter my bookshelf.
Bottom line: if you want to buy mediocre Mobley, at least save $5 and buy Reach Out (by the way, why are all Connoisseurs more expensive than RVGs?).
PS: I agree with a previous reviewer who spotted sound alikes. I really shouldn't be playing "Name That Tune" with a CD, but it was just too obvious. The title cut, "The Flip," is the half-brother of "The Jody Grind." I think Horace Silver should sue."
The ultimate period piece: too unambitious to be "The Flop."
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 12/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At his peak, just 6-8 years prior to this date, Mobley had no equal in jazz as a melodically inventive player with a beautiful, unforced soulful sound, though Blue Note records was reluctant to give him much support, not even releasing a masterful session such as "Another Workout" until EMI (which absorbed the Blue Note label) put it out just this past summer. (It's said that following the departure of Jimmy Smith and Stanley Turrentine, no musician could turn a profit for the ailing company.)
The title tune, "The Flip," is an attempt to play funky (to an 8th-note, rock-feel beat) on just two chords (Ab7 and Eb7) occasionally spelled by more of the same on a Bb7. The next tune, "Feelin' Folksy," uses a walking bass 4/4 time feel to repeat ad nauseum a single, unvaried 4-bar descending pattern in F minor. These are exactly the sorts of "compositions" we educators devise on the spot to allow high school or grade school students an opportunity to play without music, like "real" jazz musicians. The 3rd tune, "Snappin Out," is another forgettable phrase, 8 bars this time and repeated ad infinitum to a latin beat. "18th Hole," the 4th tune, is a 16-bar throwaway number based on a Dorian scale in G. "Early Morning Stroll," Hank's 5th and final offering, is the best tune of the bunch, featuring some nifty call-response exchanges with Philly Joe, along with a walking 4/4 time feel on conventional harmonies alternating with a modal vamp figure. On the tune's solos, even Mobley comes up with an idea or two worthy of his talents.
The audio is only fair, marked by excessive separation and a somewhat muffled quality. Probably just as well, because Hank's sound is pretty "dead" and his melodic ideas almost equally lifeless, or at best sporadically acceptable. What possessed him to write at least 4 of these 5 tunes defies explanation--was it the Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
All of which proves that superior musicians stooping to play elementary, formulaic music in search of a target audience do neither themselves nor the listener much of a favor.
How to explain "The Flip"? Perhaps as the original niche jazz label was burning through ever-diminishing funds and seeing the end in sight, it had a change of heart regarding Hank. Unfortunately, they waited too long."