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My Favorite Things
LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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Another Coltrane landmark, in which he lends his inimitable style to pop standards.
This 1960 recording was a landmark album in John Coltrane's career, the first to introduce his quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones and the first release on which he played soprano saxophone. It also provided him with a signature hit, as his new group conception came together wonderfully on the title track. It's an extended modal reworking in 6/4 time that brought the hypnotic pulsating quality of Indian music into jazz for the first time, with Coltrane's soprano wailing over the oscillating piano chords and pulsing drums. The unusual up-tempo version of Gershwin's "Summertime" is a heated example of Coltrane's "sheets of sound" approach to conventional changes, while "But Not for Me" receives a radical harmonic makeover. This is an excellent introduction to Coltrane's work. --Stuart Broomer
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The "original" version of this album has on its cover a blue background and a waist-length picture of Coltrane holding a soprano sax. My Favorite Things, original version link. It contains four songs:
1. My Favorite Things
2. Everytime We Say Goodbye
4. But Not For Me
This is the version to which my five star rating applies.
And there is a "deluxe" edition of the original album, with a gray cover and a small insert picture of the original album art. My Favorite Things [Deluxe Edition]. Plus there are import versions of the original album, with the original cover art surrounded by a purple square border. My Favorite Things, import version link. All of those contain a total of six songs, including the original four, plus extras My Favorite Things, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2.
The "bootleg" version people are referring to is presumably the one that has a swirly gray background on its cover art and a close up picture of Coltrane, with the words "Fourstar Masters of Jazz". My Favorite Things, bootleg MP3 link. That album contains six songs:
1. My Favorite Things
2. Blue Train
6. Traneing In
That album is currently available only as MP3 download. (It says it is also available in CD format, but if you click that link within the MP3 listing, you get the original CD, not one that corresponds to this bootleg recording.) The sound quality of the bootleg is noticeably inferior to the original album recording. And, of course, the bootleg isn't even the same music.
There is also a "legitimate" live album called My Favorite Things: Coltrane at Newport, which has a cover with a black background and contains six tracks:
1. I Want To Talk About You
2. My Favorite Things
4. Spoken Introduction
5. One Down, One Up
6. My Favorite Things
Most of these versions are available as both CDs and MP3 downloads, so it's not particularly useful to attempt to distinguish them by CD vs. MP3.
"Every Time We Say Goodbye" is a slower tune, still very post bop. Coltrane hangs on to one note in the melody, and keeps repeating it, with different tonalities, different expressions, and then goes back to the melody once more. "Summertime" is an up temp blues, but with those unexpected Coltrane harmonies, finishing a phrase some interval up from where you'd expect it to go. And "But Not For Me" takes a standard and gives it the full treatment, with the Coltrane change substitutions in the head and then a more straight treatment of the chorus, all of which leads to an extended solo on those themes. It's just great music from the greatest tenor sax player of all time.