This is not a Hank Mobley tribute. Don’t take that the wrong way – I’m a big admirer of Hank’s work, but the road to this album didn’t begin with a desire to pay homage to him. It came when I asked Charles Ruggiero to produce a straight-ahead jazz record for me.
Charles and I have played together for years in various LA-based bands, and I was featured on his album Charles Ruggiero Meets Laura Mace. Besides swinging his tail off on the drums, he’s got a knack for repertoire and an ear for production. The Hank Mobley idea was his way of framing my playing in a soulful hard-bop context.
We had a couple of parameters: 1) no songs from Hank’s most famous record, Soul Station, and 2) record in one room, on one day. That’s how they produced many of our favorite classic-jazz albums and we were aiming for that vibe. As soon as I heard the song choices, I was nodding my head and thinking about how fun it’d be to play them. We chose the electric piano to avoid trying to re-create music that’s already been perfectly recorded.
Some of these songs are from Hank’s records as a leader, some are from his work as a sideman. The title track is my contribution. It’s a nod to the classic Blue Note Boogaloos, many of which Hank played on.
Special thanks to Alex Boneham and Larry Goldings, who played beautifully from start to finish. It was such a joy to make music with these wonderful players. I hope you have as much fun listening to it as we had creating it.