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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed masterpiece (and more masterful because of the flaw), June 14, 2008
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This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
Basically, I think G.B., the previous reviewer, gets it right. This one definitely isn't as immediately satisfying (especially to a Mobley fan like me) as "Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk," but it's still a welcome recording (and 2008 reissue) that captures Miles precisely at the moment of transition (between Coltrane and Mobley). Moreover, my hunch is that this recording will increasingly be appreciated as the years accumulate, possibly even coming within striking distance of an indisputable masterpiece like "Kind of Blue," once listeners attend less to the surrounding circumstances (2 Davis alumni sitting in on 3 tracks) and listen to the nearly uniform excellence of the music.

Unfortunately, Mobley got "blind-sided" on the title tune, thanks to the curious decision of Miles to introduce Coltrane as a second tenor just as the listener is "suckered" into thinking the leader has taken the tune out. A number of listeners immediately interpret the obvious disparity between the two tenor giants as either a sign of Coltrane's unassailable superiority or Mobley's middleweight mediocrity. But that's terribly unfair to Mobley, who was neither a motivic power player like Rollins nor an incantatory harmonicist like Coltrane. There's no more lyrical, ceaselessly melodic, soulful, blues-rooted, naturally gifted player than Mobley who, at his best, simply took the chords that were given him and "sang" his heart out. On the first track Hank is clearly self-conscious about his role, practically "auditioning" for a place in the Miles Davis Quintet. Moreover, he's following the economical, pungent and tight-lipped, ultra-attitudinous and cool solo by Miles. Hank uncharacteristically "deliberates" about his note choices, leading to several silences of almost a full measure (such unheard moments are unheard of for this intuitive, natural singer). The alternative version of the title track, on which Coltrane sits out, finds Mobley back in stride, no longer trying to match the leader's laconic intensity but submitting two choruses of unbridled, unhesitating yet resourceful lyricism.

All the same, I'm glad Columbia elected to go with the Mobley-Coltrane incongruity on the original release. It's Coltrane's entrance on the title tune that elevates the proceedings which follow to the level of another Miles masterpiece. Through much of the ensuing music Mobley provides the earthy warmth to counteract Miles' steely Harmon-muted tones and poignant coldness, whereas Coltrane's is the only horn that could follow Miles on "Teo," a Flamenco, or Mid-Eastern, modal number on which the trumpeter revisits his upper-register cadenza work from "Sketches of Spain."

Not the least of the rewards of this reissue is "Blues No. 2," not included on the original release but the one tune on which Philly Joe Jones replaces Jimmy Cobb, sounding--almost as much as Coltrane--like a man on a mission. Whereas Cobb plays with a broad stroke and resonant ride cymbal, creating open swinging spaces for the soloist to explore, Jones has a short, tight stroke, perfect for the crisp, quick conversations he engages in, seemingly favoring his snare over his ride cymbal. And whereas a Max Roach would often conduct a polyrhythmic kind of "counter-chatter" to the soloists, Philly Joe is more like a horn player himself, his phrases intricate but relatively symmetrical--employing the same bebop licks as those favored by the idiom's chief non-percussion exponents. In fact, listening to Miles and Philly Joe on this track is a little like hearing some of the sparring matches between Diz and Bird!

Consider this one an essential addition to any jazz library, even if its initial appeal is admittedly to a curious streak (if you want to hear Mobley playing with Coltrane, and having a fighting chance, pick up Johnny Griffin's "A Blowin' Session" or, better yet, "Two Tenors" or "Tenor Conclave"--both, originally at least, under Mobley's name).
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but not a classic, May 10, 2008
By 
G B (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
There are those times in jazz when everything is pattering along, nice and pleasant, and then one musician starts playing and BOOM everything that's happened for the previous few minutes seems totally trivial. "Someday My Prince Will Come" (track #1 of this CD) is one of those times. Miles, Hank Mobley, and Wynton all play fine swinging solos; then John Coltrane plays an incredible solo at the end of which you ask yourself "Hank who?"

Most of this CD features Miles's working band of the time, a quintet with Mobley in the tenor sax chair and the superbly groovy rhythm section of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb. Mobley was a fine hard bop player, as some of his albums for the Blue Note label attest to (check out Soul Station, Roll Call or Workout), but he sounds a little uncomfortable here. The music looks back behind the progressive sounds of Kind of Blue and Milestones to the mid-50s quintet, though with a few exceptions it doesn't have the spark of that group. The exceptions include the two tracks with Coltrane ("Someday" and "Teo"), whose intense spiralling improvisations look ahead to those on "Ole" and "Africa"; the one track with Philly Joe Jones ("Blues #2"), where Miles and Philly Joe trade choruses almost telepathically; and "Pfrancing" (aka "No Blues"), where the rhythm section does what they do best. The ballads, played by Miles on mute, are a little anemic.

The music on this album will please almost any jazz fan and includes some classic performances, but there are quite a few Miles Davis recordings that are more essential. If you want to hear the quintet (minus guests) at their best, check out the recently issued Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk.

[This review is based on the 1999 reissue, which has excellent sound and an identical tracklist.]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly, excellent, August 3, 2009
By 
Black Dog (Seabrook, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
In a very short time, this has quickly become one of my favorite Miles Davis CD's. This is unexpected in that this CD is from a time when Miles was transitioning band members without a whole lot of stability. The album has "someday my prince will come" which is attractive to those who would like to hear Miles' common standards. The album also has some striking lesser know original numbers which are unique in harmony and form. These are "pfrancing" and "teo". The music matches the pre-"kind of blue" time in that the open modal forms are not as present (which Miles would lean to later with "ESP") and seem more like his Prestige recordings though this album was recorded in 1961.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three-channel bliss, May 24, 2011
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Just to be clear about this: this "import" sacd is the Analogue Productions 2010 reissue, CAPJ 8456 SA. Its DSD layers offer a stunning sonic improvement over the sound available on previous Red Book CD reissues of the album. I haven't heard the Japanese sacd reissue, so I can't comment on how they compare. But the lower price of this sacd will be a deciding factor for many.

It turns out the original master tapes for this session (and apparently for Seven Steps to Heaven as well) were done as three-channel, with Davis occupying center, Wynton Kelly on left, drummer Jimmy Cobb on right, bass Paul Chambers either center or panned over all three channels (especially for his solos), Coltrane and Mobley mostly right. So this Analogue Productions reissue differs from most of their other classic jazz offerings by actually offering a choice of DSD three-channel, DSD two-channel, and Red Book two-channel. The three-channel versions are cleaner and make it easier to hear some nuances in the performances -- also check out the squeaky piano bench about a minute into "Old Folks"! Miles' Harmon-muted trumpet solos seem less distorted. But the two-channel DSD may seem to offer a fuller sound, with (especially) Davis "centered" in the mix by being panned across both channels. And of course, this is how people heard the album on vinyl when it first appeared.

Like the rest of the Davis discography, the merits and weaknesses of this album have been listed and disputed forever, so no need to do that here. I just want to say that I like Hank Mobley's contribution here, a LOT, and have almost the same impression of Coltrane's work on this date that I had back in 1963 or '4: extremely confident, extremely virtuosic, and on a different planet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem that deserves more attention, March 18, 2013
This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
This album ranks among my favorite Miles' albums. It is surprising (perhaps appalling is a better word) that a large number of fans look like deer in headlights when it's discussed.

I'll admit that my favorite period is the Prestige years, but Miles produced arguably his best work for Columbia. This one is a shining example. Miles was certainly evolving and reinventing during the March 7, 20 and 21, 1961 sessions, but yon can clearly hear that he was still capitalizing on his earlier Columbia work.

Perhaps part of the reason was the line-up. He had musicians who were long associated with him, including a rock solid rhythm section comprised of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. In fact, the only new face in the ensemble was Hank Mobley who was - in his own way - as inventive as Coltrane who was a Miles alumni and who sat in on two tracks. That familiarity may have held Miles in check with respect to his role as session leader who know what to expect from the members of the ensemble. That level of familiarity can sometimes allow you to propel forward as in Kind of Blue, or anchor you to familiar ground. Who can truly be sure? Personally I love the results of the sessions that produced this album.

I've often theorized that there is another factor that may account for how grounded the music is on this album. Half of the six tracks on the original 1961 release standards or compositions by others. Miles may have not wanted to stray too far.

This album contains the original six tracks plus Blues No. 2 on which Philly Joe Jones replaces Jimmy Cobb and the alternate take of Someday My Prince Will Come (Coltrane is not on that take allowing you hear how Mobley approaches the song on his own, then to compare it to the title track with both Mobley and Coltrane.)

I lament the fact that there are no sound samples on this CD version's page at the time of this review. I tend to shy away from describing the music itself because my words are inadequate. I will say that if you liked the earlier albums Miles recorded for Columbia that preceded this one then chances are you will love this one. While music is a matter of personal taste this one ranks up there among my favorite Miles Davis albums. I sometimes ponder why it is not better known.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good music, July 29, 2012
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This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
I have compiled a massage tape with his best stuff! The slow songs are great to work by. My senior clients love these tunes!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A transitional record transfigured by the guest appearance of John Coltrane, September 3, 2011
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This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
1961's SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME is the followup to the classic album KIND OF BLUE, but sees Miles Davis going through a difficult transition. He had lost saxophonists John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, and was no longer working with pianist Bill Evans. The band that Davis was now playing with was comparatively weak: Hank Mobley (saxophone), Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums). The modal jazz that they play is nice and melodic but not especially intricate.

But what makes this album memorable is the guest appearance of John Coltrane on two tracks. On the opener, Coltrane appears after Mobley and completely upstages the other saxophonist with a musically ambitious, virtuosically played solo. On "Teo", where Coltrane is the lone saxophonist, his solo is one of the most furious and idiosyncratic in his whole recorded output.

In my opinion, Miles Davis didn't really hit his stride in the 1960s until the album ESP, when he had established a strong new quintet and had Wayne Shorter writing labyrintine free bop tunes. SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME is a lesser album in the Davis canon, though there's still plenty of entertaining moments here and fans of Coltrane will find the disc worthwhile just for his two solos.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little-known gem, January 12, 2010
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This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
This Miles Davis album deserves wider recognition, particularly for the two songs with John Coltrane - the title track and "Teo." See my more extensive remarks on my Riffs on Jazz blog.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Miles' greatest and most memorable albums., August 12, 2013
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This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
I first heard this music in the early 1960s. On this album you find cuts featuring John Coltrane on some and Hank Mobley on others, which demonstrates the organization in transition at the time of recording. The group with Trane and Cannonball was legendary, but Miles was always known to feature the best instrumentalists over time - he just kept on moving. Trane went on to form his legendary quartette with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones at the core; Cannonball joined with his brother, Nat Adderly to form another legendary ensemble.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best, December 16, 2010
This review is from: Someday My Prince Will Come (Audio CD)
In the cool and bebop phase of Mr. Davis' Career, can be comfortable saying that This along with Milestones, Kind of blue,Seven Steps to heaven and Sketches of Spain are some of his finest moments prior to Jack Johnson,In a silent Way,On the Corner and Bitches Brew. Often overlooked this album is amazing and be sure to check out E.S.P. and Miles smiles. To be perfectly honest I love everything Miles ever recorded, the same can be said for Coltrane Check out Someday my prince will come the first track has some of Miles' and Trane's greatest work.
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Someday My Prince Will Come
Someday My Prince Will Come by Miles Davis (Audio CD - 1999)
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