|Hank MobleyHank Mobley was born on July 7, 1930 in Eastman, Georgia, and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. There was much music in his family, particularly piano music. Uncle Dave Mobley played piano among other instruments, and his mother and grandmother also played keyboards (his grandmother was a church organist). Piano became Mobley's first instrument; then he picked up the tenor sax at age 16 and basically taught himself the horn. On his uncle's advice, he listened initially to Lester Young and then to Don Byas, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt. "Anyone who can swing and get a message across," as Mobley explained his influences to Leonard Feather in 1956.When the avant-garde innovators dominated the attention of jazz critics a few years later, Mobley's playing was often dismissed as old hat and irrelevant. It has only been in the years since he stopped recording (his last session, co-led with Cedar Walton, took place in 1972), and especially since his death in 1986, that the exceptional quality of his playing and writing has begun to receive a commensurate measure of respect.