John Coltrane brings a magic touch to everything he comes into contact with. Here, his magic touch is applied to the 1946 jazz standard, “Time After Time.
The music for this was written by Jule Styne, with lyrics (performed by Sarah Vaughan in ’46 and Frank Sinatra in ’57) by Sammy Cahn. It’s also been recorded by Stan Getz, Dinah Washington, Chet Baker, and a host of others!
Coltrane’s version is smooth jazz gold. Opening with a delicate, nimble piano part, the 7 minutes of the song take in sultry sax serenades, ambling piano, oh-so-soft drumming, and a chilled out bass.
Just these 4 components of the quartet are enough to create a beautifully rich and engaging song, more than compensating for the lack of vocals.
The saxophone is in many ways the stand-in for the vocals of the original, but of course is expressive in a completely different way, and one which speaks volumes.
The song was released on Stardust, the 1963 album. That album was itself composed of two separate 1958 recording sessions, which the label stuck together without Coltrane’s consent.