Personnel: Tadd Dameron (piano); John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); John Simmons (acoustic bass); Philly Joe Jones (drums).
Recorded in Hackensack, New Jersey on November 30, 1956. Originally released on Prestige (7070). Includes liner notes by Ira Gitler and Mark Gardner.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1992, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); Tadd Dameron (piano); John Simmons (bass guitar); Philly Joe Jones (drums).
This fine set, recorded on November 30, 1956, has been reissued several times, often as a John Coltrane date, but make no mistake, this is a Tadd Dameron session, and his elegant compositions are its key component. Coltrane was fresh off playing with Miles Davis in 1956 and was still a year away from heading his own sessions and three years away from recording Giant Steps, so it might be said that he was in transition, but then when was Coltrane not in transition? Dameron wisely gives him plenty of space to fill, and the rhythm section of John Simmons on bass and the great Philly Joe Jones on drums (not to mention Dameron's own characteristically bass-heavy piano style) give Trane a solid bottom to work with, and if the spiritual and edgy emotion of his later playing isn't quite in place yet, you can feel it coming. But again, this is Dameron's date, with each of the six selections an original Dameron composition. There's so much to marvel at here, including the Bahamian rhythms of the title track, "Mating Call," the gorgeous build of "Soultrane" (often the title when this set is issued as a Coltrane date) and the undeniable grace and elegance of "On a Misty Night" (based in part on the melody line to "September in the Rain"). The straight blues piece "Romas" is also a lot of fun, particularly for Coltrane. Mating Call, or whatever title it sports, whether under Dameron's name or Coltrane's, is a solid and frequently overlooked gem. Don't hesitate to pick it up. ~ Steve Leggett