Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan – Peckin’ Time – Blue Note 81574 / Analogue Productions Stereo-only SACD CBNJ 81574 SA – 1959, 62:28 (Distr. by Harmonia mundi) ****½:
(Lee Morgan, trumpet; Hank Mobley, tenor sax; Wynton Kelly, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Charlie Persip, drums)
Making the decision to spring for a stereo SACD when the classic album has already been issued as a CD, then remastered by Rudy Van Gelder for the Blue Note RVG CD series, is a hard decision in tight economic times. [But audiophiles with the cash handy are obviously going for it…Ed.] Analogue Productions has issued many of the classic Blue Note titles with remastering by aces Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman. They have released approximately 50 titles, so one has to be discerning to not break the pocket book.
The decision to purchase a SACD of a Blue Note issue that you may already have in your collection comes down to an dramatic improvement in acoustics and sound stage with an upgrade in sound mix. Peckin’ Time meets the standard in my opinion. Getting to hear Hank Mobley teamed with Lee Morgan, backed by an elite rhythm section makes the purchase a sound decision.
Comparing the RVG to the SACD finds the drums and cymbals with an audible snap, Morgan’s warm trumpet tone highlighted, and Mobley’s mid- range tenor with no harshness and rich with the sound of an audiophile vinyl record without having to obsess with vinyl maintenance.
Mobley wrote all the material on Peckin’ Time with the exception of Kurt Weill’s “Speak Low. “High and Flighty” is glorious with Hank and Lee blending like a vintage wine. Wynton Kelly gets to display his blues chops on “Speak Low,” before Morgan rises to majestic heights in his solo. so much talent at such a young age…. Only Clifford Brown could compare at the same age. Charlie Persip’s drumming here takes the tune in a Latin/ Caribbean direction.
The title track is vintage Mobley hard bop, not complicated, but swinging hard in the best hard bop vein. Wynton Kelly is among the best pianists to interpret Mobley’s compositions as Kelly has a knack for being a team player, never flashy, and on Peckin’ Time, he makes the right statements and steps aside content to let the horns seal the deal.
At nine minutes, “Stretchin’ Out“, does just that. Morgan sets a blistering pace with runs that are crystal clear, and on the SACD they pop out like he is five feet away ripping off one chorus after another. “Git-Go Blues” presses all the right buttons for me- a gospel feel with down home funky blues overtones—simply the essence of hard bop. Mobley wails, and we can simply counter with, “Amen.”
Peckin’ Time rises to the top 10% of the Analogue Productions Blue Note SACD run. Call it classic plus one with acoustics to match. Give your other Peckin’ Time editions to those you want to impress with your good taste, and invest in the release with the whole package….
TrackList: High and Flighty, Speak Low, Peckin’ Time, Stretchin’ Out, Git-Go Blues, and alternate takes of High and Flighty, Speak Low, and Stretchin’ Out
A lesser known jazz pioneer gets a re-mastered vinyl upgrade.