One of the best Jazz albums ever
Roger Berlind | NY, USA | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As is clear from the reviews written before mine, the general consensus is that this is a GREAT album: 37 5-star and 2 4-star reviews with plenty of glowing commentary. I whole-heartedly agree.
What one can also notice by checking out review statistics for other albums is that other jazz musicians get a lot more reviews (and presumably sell a lot more albums) than Hank Mobley. For instance, John Coltrane received at least 132 but possibly 222 reviews for "A Love Supreme", 127 reviews for "Giant Steps", and 79 reviews for "Blue Train". (Reviews for ALS are split across 2 editions and might have redundant reviews.) There are a total of 90 reviews for Sonny Rollins' "Saxophone Colossus". But the champ appears to be Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" which has an amazing 695 reviews. Clearly, a lot more people are reviewing the bestselling albums from these jazz legends. (But even Miles can't beat Harry Potter: the first HP novel has 5,469 reviews!)
I actually have had this album for some time, but had been listening to other Mobley albums I purchased during the past few months. I've reviewed many of those and gave some of them ("Peckin' Time", "Straight No Filter", and "No Room For Squares") 5 stars while giving others ("Dippin'" and "Hi Voltage") 4 stars. But listening to "Soul Station" again makes me wonder if I was too generous with my reviews. If Amazon's ranking system were based on 10 stars, then I would give this superb album 10 stars and would have given the other albums 7 to 9 stars.
Mobley's playing at this earlier point in his career was certainly more lyrical and relaxed. While I like his early, middle, and late period styles, I can understand why some listeners would prefer his earlier albums. Also, from an artistic point of view, one could argue that the later albums feel kind of formulaic, forced into the mold that Blue Note was using for all its artists in its attempts to replicate the high sales of 1963's "The Sidewinder" by Lee Morgan."
A Worthy Addition to Any Jazz Collection
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 04/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My intro to Hank Mobley came recently via a friend who knows that I enjoy the kind of swinging, smoky jazz featured on many Blue Note recordings. That friend and another to whom he had introduced Mobley's music both recommended Soul Station as the place to start. Judging by the number of positive reviews and high hosannahs accorded the album here, I figured they must be right.
Soul Station is easy to like, with that kind of breezy groove that will animate everyone in the room. What are my favorites? I like the entire CD! If forced to make a choice, I would pick Dig Dis and the title cut as the standouts.
Since I have no prior experience with the album, I won't get into the war of words between those who prefer the Rudy van Gelder remaster and those who prefer either the earlier US release or the Japanese remaster. Suffice to say, I like this edition quite well as it sounds just fine on my stereo system. But I am open to hearing the others and comparing sound quality.
Ordinarily, I would give this the five stars the music deserves, but I think that with the capacity of a CD to hold much more music, there is no excuse for not being provided with some alternate takes or bonus tracks contemporary to Soul Station's original date of release. The addition of bonus tracks to a recording which originally was of short duration as this is (fewer than forty minutes of music!) should be de rigueur.
I don't know about all the superlatives attached to Soul Station. While it is a very good record indeed and Hank Mobley is starting to get overdue recognition, its hardly the best jazz record ever as has been proclaimed by some. But if you are a fan of the style of jazz for which Blue Note is justly famous and you have not yet heard Hank Mobley as a front man, Soul Station is a great album with which to start. The CD is accompanied by a handsome insert which contains both the original liner notes and a contemporary retrospective. Get this while it is still relatively cheap. Its a worthy addition to any jazz collection."