Track Selection: Au Privave (Charlie Parker) guest Jackie McLean
Donald Byrd (tp) Jackie McLean (as) on “Au Privave”, Hank Mobley (ts) Barry Harris (p) Doug Watkins (b) Art Taylor (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, July 20, 1956
Mobley was damned with faint praise by critics as the “middleweight of the tenor” against Rollins and Coltrane, yet it is Mobley who heads the eBay listing of most desired and expensive records, no doubt due to the scarcity of sales that accompanied being a “middleweight”. Teamed here with Jackie McLean on the Parker composition, Au Privave, a made-up word probably meant to sound French, which you see occasionally, wrongly corrected to Au Private.
The Parker original version, for comparison, is helpfully posted up on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvdQYSWOobc Someone posted the observation that ” Bird liked minor triads because he liked to play a major seventh over them. He didn’t use thirteenth chords because he liked to play the thirteenth himself”. So there you have it, I knew there was something I was missing.The Parker recording is of course a gem, and a reminder what these young upstarts Mobley and McLean were up against, playing in the shadow of Bird.
Vinyl: Japanese pressing by Victor (1977) of Prestige 7061
Typically Japanese clean and clear pressing, though the audio is a little flat and tonally compressed, but difficult to compare in the absence of a Prestige original. Sometimes that is how the original sounds, and the engineer did the best he could from the material available. Adore the graphic cover design, even if it does conflate electricity pylons somehow with carrying messages, stretching the metaphor a little, but who cares, it looks great.
Not often I have bid for a Japanesere issue on eBay, but after an unsuccessful auction battle for an original from the States, a near-mint japanese pressing was duly purchased from a German collector. Perhaps it was him who won the original. I still keep my eye out for an original, but the word “Mobley” is on too many collectors’s saved searches for it ever to be a bargain, or even a sensible price. So it’s sushi on the menu for a while at least.