The session featured two pop standards (Arlen and Mercer, Rodgers and Hart), one jazz standard ("Lush Life," composed by Billy Strayhorn when he was 16!), and two originals, each with an interesting pedigree. The assembled talent represented an intertwining of two of the most prolific feeder streams to New York jazz. Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers and Louis Hayes were all from Detroit. John Coltrane had spent his formative years in Philadelphia, where he had worked with Texas-born Red Garland. When Coltrane came back to New York from his second Philadelphia sojourn, this one to kick his heroin habit, he brought some musicians with him, and, for this session, some composers. "Nakatini Serenade" was written by Philadelphian Cal Massey, whose talent was known within the jazz community, but whose militant political stances would lead him to be shunned, in later years, by some white-owned record labels.
"The Believer" is the work of a 20-year-old, as-yet-unknown Philadelphian named McCoy Tyner. Tyner was two years away from making his recording debut with the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet, and the beginning of his work with Coltrane which would include "A Love Supreme." But clearly Trane was already listening to him.
"Lush Life" was the first track to see vinyl, in the 1961 album of the same name. It was also
The Last Trane left the Prestige station in 1965, and included "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "Lover" from this session.
Listening to Prestige Vol. 2, 1954-1956 is very close to release. Order your advance copy from firstname.lastname@example.org