The road to dynamic, expressive improvisation is paved with practice and listening. Hank Mobley’s near perfect solo on Irving Berlin’s “Remember” from his classic LP “Soul Station” is filled with profound lessons on phrasing, rhythm, tone, melody, pacing, and development. Here is just one of the great ideas you will encounter when studying this wonderful recording.
As always, we recommend learning the phrase in all 12 keys. Practice with the audio file found below.
If you are not sure how to transpose this phrase into all 12 keys, please email me for a no-cost / no-obligation chart. Better yet, download “New Ears Resolution” and learn how to play by ear on your instrument any melody you can hear or imagine . Click here to learn more about “New Ears.”
ABOUT THIS PHRASE
The phrase in our example is taken from bars 15 and 16 of Hank’s solo. The changes here are: BbMaj7 – Fm7 – Bb7. Symbolically, this progression is represented as: I – ii / IV – V / IV . The One chord is followed by a two – five progression “in the key of four.” However, by the time we reach the IV chord, it reveals its true identify as a IV chord, not the I chord we had been led to believe was coming. You will find an excellent transcription of the entire solo in Hunt Butler’s book “Modern Jazz Tenor Solos,” which is well worth purchasing and playing through. If you look ahead to the next bar (bar 17), you notice that Hank returns to the home key (Bb). Becoming familiar with this progression is quite useful. It occurs in several standards, such as:
- “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (bars 19 & 20)
- “Do Nothin’ Til’ You Hear From Me” (bars 1 & 2)
- “The Best Things In Life Are Free” (bars 17-20)
- and “Cherokee” (bars 1-5)
4 thoughts on ““Remember” Hank Mobley’s “Soul Station”?”
Hank is one of my favorites and this is one of his best recordings!
He is a giant, in my book as well. Unfortunately, many of us back in the ’60’s got so carried away with all things innovative or novel, that the superlative craftsmanship, swing, and lyricism of Mobley’s playing did not always receive the wide acclaim his artistry deserves.
Hi. A few weeks ago I asked a local jazz great here in Port Townsend about theory. He answered, ” it wouldn’t hurt to just follow the melody “. He added that some younger players have tended to dazzle listeners with ” blazing ” technical speed sounding like showing off. I think his advice and experience said a lot about good musicians who love jazz. I was impressed knowing he was also saying knowledge of the basics is crucial as well as playing with good taste and love of each melodic note.
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Excellent advice, Mr. Harper! We are often tempted to overplay, but Miles Davis was one of the greats to emphasize the value or using space. I’ll try to remember your words next time.
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