Whereas Soul Station is his consensus masterpiece, this posthumous release of the sessions that comprise Straight No Filter is a great introduction to the rarefied sounds of Hank Mobley. For a decade, everyone worth his salt in jazz knew that a gig with Hank was just the right thing. He made no apologies with his compositions and was game for revisiting standards in interesting new ways. "Yes Indeed" could well stand in for a sermon and Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock and Philly Joe Jones turn it up a notch. The aura of these sessions is mellow crepuscule.
Although sub-titled "Live at 'The Club'", this was actually a studio affair. The album aimed to recapture that loose club feeling with friends showing up for a good time and free booze. And it works. There's Fun, Games, and even a Sack O' Woe as the Adderley brothers (Nat and Cannonball) do their thing. Joe Zawinul's compositions also played an important part in the way in which this group gelled.
Alternatively you can go for the Country Preacher album which was indeed recorded live at a revival for Operation Breadbasket and which features a young Jesse Jackson exhorting the appreciative audience onwards and upwards. But trust me, you can't go wrong with Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!
Is this the greatest jazz guitar album ever? Well it's a close-run thing. Maybe Smokin' at the Half Note gets the edge, but I wouldn't be so presumptious. Idle Moments captures Grant Green and company making magic. Bobby Hutcherson is on the vibes, Joe Henderson growls on the tenor sax and Duke Pearson is all empathy on the piano. They didn't plan for the title cut to be that long but sessions like these are supposed to be unhurried affairs. Simply inspirational music that we have the great fortune to be able to listen to time and again. This is about as good as it gets.
An organist who followed in Jimmy Smith's path, McGriff found his own style and took the instrument in a different direction. It's more percussive and danceable, he's aiming towards the funky edge of the continuum. The liner notes defy you to sit down through this album. I can testify to their veracity.