Monday Notes

Someday My Prince Will Come, from Snow White to Jazz

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Leggi in Italiano

[Monday Notes no. 39] Many songs in the jazz repertoire derive from musicals and films, and cartoons are no exception. In the 1937 cartoon, Snow White sings Someday My Prince Will Come to an audience of dwarves and forest animals.

The piece has a time signature of three quarters and belongs to the jazz waltz category. The piece opens with a long dominant pedal, the bass taps the note (F) fifth degree of the scale (B♭).

After the piano introduction, Miles Davis performs the theme (0’40”) and the first improvisation (1’16”), which is both singable and simple. The next solo is by saxophonist Hank Mobley (3’09”), a bebop-inspired musician with a warm, smooth sound. This is followed by Wynton Kelly on piano (4’25”), he too playing a very measured and singable solo.

At the end of the solo Miles Davis plays the theme again (5’22”) and the piece seems to be on its way to a conclusion, but instead a new solo starts from the theme, played by John Coltrane on tenor sax (5’52”). The saxophonist immediately shifts into a different pace, pushing the rhythm section, which begins to pulse more strongly.

Biancaneve canta per gli animali del bosco
Snow White sings for the forest animals

John Coltrane has his own very personal style, made up of dense and dissonant phrases, which he does not renounce even when playing the jazz waltz from Snow White. The balance of the piece is not compromised, however; John Coltrane’s intervention is a pleasant surprise but does not upset the lightness of the whole. The piece finally ends softly in the long final pedal (7’40”).

After this performance, Someday My Prince Will Come firmly entered the jazz repertoire, becoming the three-quarter piece most played by jazz musicians.

Until nexy Monday!

This song is part of the list How to Learn 100 Jazz Standards

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