Track Selection: Pfrancing
Miles Davis (tp) Hank Mobley (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b) Jimmy Cobb (d) recorded Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC, March 7 & 20-1, 1961) John Coltrane (ts title track)
M is for…mmm…Mobley, who joins the Miles Davis Quintet for the only recorded studio session to feature Hank and Miles together, and rhythm section par excellence. But wait! Just because one good thing happens doesn’t mean two good things can’t happen. Hello, Mr Coltrane! Mouth-watering line up, I could almost feel the credit card jumping up and down in my wallet, shouting “Beat me, beat me, I can take it! Hit me again!”
The selected track Pfrancing is named after Miles’s wife Frances, who is the lady featured on the album cover. It has an alternative title “No Blues”, which is how it appears in his discography. Coltrane appears on two other tracks but not this one, which Mobley has pwnd (Yeah, I speak gamer). Wynton Kelly seriously swings.
Vinyl:1st UK release Fontana TFL 5172, originally issued as US Columbia CL 1656
UK Fontana, pressed by Phillips.
The cover remains as the US Columbia release – how could it not, graced by Mrs Miles Davis? You can imagine the record company conversation. “Miles, the broad on the cover, we need to ditch her. For Europe, I recommend a well-upholstered blonde, maybe in tight sweater and lederhosen? Oh. I see. The lady stays Mr Davis, sir, of course.” Beautiful picture of Miles on the rear cover too. A non-smoking cover is not available.
(For the record, Miles had four wives. Frances Taylor, featured on the above cover and who he married in 1958, was Wife 2.0 , upgraded by Cecily Tyson Wife 3.0 However by 1968 he married Betty Mabry, aged 23, Wife 4.0 That wasn’t to last either, and there are various children by each marriage and some in between. Just because a man plays good trumpet doesn’t mean he is succesful in relationships. “Women get too frisky on you,” Davis says. “I don’t like it when women get like that. They get frisky and out of hand” I say “projection”. Reads like Miles was the one who was frisky.)
Record number two of the three UK originals from the shop I don’t usually go into. Though we can all be creatures of habit, and the familiar is comforting, the most interesting things often happen when once in a while we step off the usual path. Only don’t get carried away. There are often good reasons for the path being where it is.
UPDATE July 9, 2016: US COLUMBIA LABELS
1. CL 1656 Mono Six-Eye CBS overprint – 1A/1D stampers, P Pitman NJ press
3. Alternative typesetting condensed font, stampers not identified (Discogs upload)
4. Later Two-Eye pressing – Pitman NJ pressing, 1D/1J stampers
5. 1B stamper copy which shows two-line title.
1B according to conventional wisdom is one of Columbia’s three regional manufacturing centres, probably Terre Haute. 1B is a cutting from the original matrix, as is 1A and 1C, no reason the be precious about this, a “first pressing” in a regionally distributed manufacturing system.
Photo Credit: Sam B