In today’s world, I find it quite shocking how little jazz music is celebrated. It barely gets any radio play, and even when you do here it on the radio, the time is more than likely hovering around midnight. It’s such a shame. And to think that such good names like Victor Wooten, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Gerald Veasley, Marcus Miller, etc, go in through one ear and out the other, as they go seemingly unnoticed. While many people may not be familiar with the striving jazz artists of today, they at least should know one jazz artist of yesteryear. Like say, Miles Davis, for example? Along with Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Sir Duke, Miles Davis is one of the most celebrated and recognizable jazz figures ever. Known for pioneering bebop, a fast paced jazz style, as well as cool jazz, and modal jazz, Davis was at the forefront of Jazz from the late 1940’s until his death in 1991.
One particular note of interest about Davis is that his discography is immense
. And by immense, we’re talking over 150 albums immense. Out of his entire discography, his best works are arguably found between 1957-1969, the time period which I like to refer to as the golden era of Miles Davis. You’ll find classics such as Birth Of The Cool, Kind Of Blue, Sketches of Spain, and Bitches Brew, all in this twelve year time frame. You’ll also find Someday My Prince Will Come, an underappreciated Davis masterpiece. Released in 1961, Someday My Prince Will Come is reminiscent of Kind Of Blue, Davis’s most appreciated work. (just to give you an idea of what the album’s overall feel is like.)
Looking at Someday My Prince Will Come from the instrumentation aspect, one will notice that this album is highly advanced. The album features one of the best jazz quintets you’ll ever hear, or otherwise known as the Miles Davis quintet. (John Coltrane plays on the title track and Teo, which technically makes the quintet a sextet.) While you won’t hear any blazing fast solos from Davis himself, you will hear plenty of good leads and solos from the famous trumpeter. And let us not forget about the other five members of the ensemble. The instruments used Someday My Prince Will Come are the faces that portray the sextet: two saxophones, bass, piano, drums, and trumpet. As the old saying goes: “The rhythm section of any type of jazz band is the section that keeps the band together.” The rhythm section on Someday My Prince Will Come can only be described in one word: Phenomenal. From Drad Dog, a slower composition, to the title track, which can be considered the most poppy song of the album, the bass, piano, and drums keeps the band together and tight every beat of the way. And then, there is John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, and Miles Davis, representing the brass/woodwind section of the sextet. Each song on the album (a total of six) graces you with at least one Davis solo, and one sax solo, adding to the already lavish rhythm section.
Now, to the compositions themselves. Someday My Prince Will Come is comprised of six tracks total. Each Davis album has its fair share of covers, and Someday My Prince Will Come is no different. Davis affectionately covers three tunes, Someday My Prince Will Come, Old Folks, and I Though About You. Each track conjures a different feel: Someday My Prince will come offers a more popish feel, Old Folks, a disdained mood, and I though About You, a combination of the two other covers. Davis’s very own contributions happen to be Pfrancing, Drad Dog, and Teo. Pfrancing and Teo each portray the same feel, a moody jazz ballad brimming with bliss. Drad Dog, on the other hand, is a lot like Old Folks, a slow, mundane track filled with grief.
Earlier in this review, I mentioned that Someday can be compared to the likes of Kind Of Blue. Both Old Folk and Drad Dog can be compared to Blue in Green. Pfrancing and Teo could both be combined and sound almost like Freddie Freeloader, but with a couple aspects tweaked, of course. I Thought About You captures the sullen mood of Flamenco Sketches as if it were nothing. And lastly, Someday My Prince Will Come calls out the epic All Blues. Both songs possess the same sort of mood, and both offer awesome solos to boot.
Someday My Prince Will Come is an overlooked album from one of the few jazz intellects this world has ever seen. And yet it may not be Davis’s most celebrated work of art, Someday My Prince Will Come is a strong offering of modal jazz, especially coming after albums such as Kind Of Blue and Sketches of Spain, two of Davis’s most celebrated works. And at a run time of about forty-one minutes, Someday My Prince Will Come will be one of the quickest but most remarkable jazz albums you will ever recall listening to. Afterall, it is Miles Davis.