Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coltrane's "My Favorite Things": Recorded 50 Years Ago Today

“I’ve found you’ve got to look back at the old things and see them in a new light.”— John Coltrane, 1960

Thanks to visitor Dave Lull, I was alerted to Robin Washington's reminiscence of that time, published a few days ago in the Duluth News Tribune.  The article refers to a wonderful radio documentary on Trane: this 29 minutes of heaven can be enjoyed here.   Hear Trane himself speak, along with McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Steve Kuhn (Trane's pianist immediately before Tyner), and Harvard jazz scholar Ingrid Monson (whose perceptive comments heard in this documentary have moved me to put several of her books on reserve at my library).

In 1996, Scott Anderson wrote his thesis on Trane's revolutionary appropriation of that lilting waltz, which sets it in its late '50s context (Rogers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music"), analyzes its form, and provides copious information on Trane's main recordings of this classic (including the one that knocked me out in the early '70s, the performance at Newport Jazz Festival, July 2, 1965).  This study deserves the widest possible dissemination among Coltrane fans.

Two great documents, using the written and spoken word, to help make present to us what occurred fifty years ago.

Finally, my favorite video of "My Favorite Things," not least of which because it shows, not only regular quartet members Tyner, Jones, and Jimmy Garrison, but also Eric Dolphy (on flute) .