JOHN COLTRANE — My Favorite Things (review)

JOHN COLTRANE — My Favorite Things album cover Album · 1961 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Matt
The Sound of Music the film would be the last place you would expect to produce one of the greatest Jazz tracks ever but that sure is the case with "My Favourite Things" Soprano Saxophone rules with the modal approach that John Coltrane took to this tune and the results were magnificent.This was where John Coltrane began to change with his approach to Jazz by discarding his Bop sound with a Modal appraoch which is working within the parameters of certain chords which cuts out chord changes allowing the musician to improvise over the repitition of the chords that are chosen. In other words it returned more melody within Jazz as the composition is caught within that framework of chords. This album has melody without doubt and often one hears from people not into Jazz ," but where is the tune". Well the tune is here and what John Coltrane has done with this simple tune is extrodainary with his use of this new approach in music and after this album which was his first in this style he would never go back to Bop but head out the opposite direction into Avante Garde. This is the first album also where he introduced his his new Quartet format and maybe the greatest creative period for him with the assistance of McCoy Tyner on piano who made such an important contribution. Steve Davis on bass and Elvin Jones on drums who like McCoy Tyner would be with this band through some of the most creative approach to Jazz ever. John Coltrane is the master of tenor saxophone but here he takes up soprano and takes that instrument to heights that nobody thought possible and the melody ,it is all there.

The title tune from the album is just short of fourteen minutes and the time length is not even noticable as this is taken to heights that are simply mesmerising. McCoy Tyner on piano begins the intro and the band with John Coltrane join putting down the theme as well a small solo from him which then McCoy Tyner uses to launch into one gorgeous solo with his approach which goes for over four minutes and always one can hear the theme within. John's turn and this is where within the composition some of the most amazing soprano sax was ever recorded. He stretches those notes like gum and the notes within notes could be the best description of the loops and swirls within the solo but always on the tune. The ending to the tune is simply breath taking and you do not want it to finish and John seems to oblige by keeping things going. Soprano saxophone is played again with next one "Everytime We Say Goodbye" which seems to be more restrained than the title as it is a quite piece with John opening proceedings and one can hear feel of the title within. McCoy Tyner follows on with some beautiful touch. He music always has that joyous feel with how he plays." Summertime" from Porgy and Bess is one of those tunes that nearly every genre of music done but not like this. John Coltrane is back on tenor and he captures the tune and wrings it out could be a great description for his approach. All the band get to have a crack with solos in this one. The album finishes up with " But Not For me" and is the most straight forward played tune but is anything really straight forward as John gives another of those solo's on tenor with his approach.

The songs that were chosen are all from theatre productions ( Musicals) and taken to heights that could only have been done by John Coltrane with the assistance of one of the best pianists and drummers in Jazz history. Steve Davis on Bass is no slouch either. Masterpiece in Jazz most definitely and one that is right up the top of the ladder. The only issue with the album I have is,"They could have done better with the cover".
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