After both John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley left Miles Davis' quintet, he was caught in the web of seeking suitable replacements. It was a period of trial and error for him that nonetheless yielded some legendary recordings (Sketches of Spain, for one). One of those is Someday My Prince Will Come. The lineup is Davis, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and alternating drummers Jimmy Cobb and Philly Jo Jones. The saxophonist was Hank Mobley on all but two tracks. John Coltrane returns for the title track and "Teo." The set opens with the title, a lilting waltz that nonetheless gets an original treatment here, despite having been recorded by Dave Brubeck. Kelly is in keen form, playing a bit sprightlier than the tempo would allow, and slips flourishes in the high register inside the melody for an "elfin" feel. Davis waxes light and lyrical with his Harmon mute, playing glissando throughout. Mobley plays a strictly journeyman solo, and then Coltrane blows the pack away with a solo so deep inside the harmony it sounds like it's coming from somewhere else.
Of the seven songs on this Blue Note date, four are more common than the other three because they contain solos by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane and have therefore been reissued more often. Actually there are quite a few solos in the all-star sextet (which includes the bassist-leader, Coltrane, trumpeter Donald Byrd, guitarist Kenny Burrell, pianist Horace Silver, and drummer Philly Joe Jones) and all of the players get their chances to shine on this fairly spontaneous hard bop set. Coltrane's two obscure compositions ("Nita" and "Just for the Love") are among the more memorable tunes and are worth reviving. "Tale of the Fingers" features the quintet without Coltrane, the rhythm section stretches out on "Whims of Chambers," and "Tale of the Fingers" is a showcase for Chambers' bowed bass. This is a fine effort and would be worth picking up by straight-ahead jazz fans even if John Coltrane had not participated.
Recorded over the course of three months in 1962, Coltrane was John Coltrane's third album for Impulse, but his first for the label devoted entirely to his regular working group. It was also the first album on any label to showcase what came to be known as the classic John Coltrane Quartet. That group – with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums – established itself in its four years of existence as one of the most influential ensembles in jazz, and one of the most popular as well. Coltrane documents its genesis.