Now, having said that every one of these tracks is a highlight, let me highlight a few of the higher lights. The 1957 recording of the Monk composition "Nutty," with Monk on the piano, is something special. It makes a nice comparison with the live version Monk recorded with Johnny Griffin on tenor, which is included on The Very Best of Thelonious Monk. Trane's work with Donald Byrd, speeding their way through "Lover Come Back to Me," is nothing short of remarkable and a good indication of the direction in which he was moving. The soulful rendition of "Soultrane," pun aside, is as sensitive a reading of the ballad as you could hope for. "Theme for Ernie" is nothing to look down your nose at.
His own composition, "Traneing In" has a nice blues feel and some fine piano work from Garland. "Good Bait" offers a long Chambers solo followed by some great interaction between Trane and Taylor. Kenny Burrell turns in some excellent solo work on "Freight Trane." Cole Porter's "I Love You" is handled by the trio. Coltrane puts a shine on the standard.
If you don't already have a taste for Coltrane, The Very Best of John Coltrane will whet your appetite. On the other hand, if you don't already have a taste for Coltrane, what rock have you been hiding under?