About as typical a hard bop album as you will ever find, Soul Station, is perhaps my favorite Hank Mobley bit for it's sheer purity of intent and it's dedication to the craft of swing and cool. Much of the album's merit can be attributed to the ubiquitous skin-crusher, Art Blakey. Mobley (along with Lee Morgan) is the artist most associated with Blue Note in their most productive period. The tenor sax player recorded twenty-five albums for the label as a leader, and probably another fifty as a sideman. Hank's own records never really strayed far from the formula, no risk taking, the man was a workhorse focused on the task of tone and performance. Soul Station was one of the first Blue Note albums I ever bought, having been struck by its cover in a thrift store bin. Mobley appears a bit baked, in the grip of a sublime sense of accomplishment, a smile creeps across his face as he lifts his horn as if to utter a soft, barely audible "fuck yeah." Mobley didn't need to wildly squonk discordant notes like Coleman or Dolphy, he didn't need to play faster than Johnny Griffin, he didn't need to out cool Coltrane. Motherfucking Mobley knew he was bad ass, Soul Station was just one of many reminders.