Rhino’s Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration Continues With One Of Coltrane’s Most-Successful Albums
LOS ANGELES – Released in March 1961, My Favorite Things was the first album to feature John Coltrane playing soprano saxophone in addition to his regular tenor. His soprano takes the lead on two of the album’s four songs, including his unforgettable rendition of the title track, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote for The Sound of Music musical.
An edited version of the 14-minute original was a radio hit that spring. The song’s success helped introduce Coltrane to a broader audience, while the album went on to inspire future generations of fans. In recognition of the album’s lasting artistic and historical significance, My Favorite Things was inducted into the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 1998 and certified gold in 2018.
Rhino will celebrate the 60th anniversary of My Favorite Things with Deluxe Editions on vinyl and CD. Each version features new stereo and mono mixes remastered from the original tapes. The mono mix, once believed lost, was rediscovered recently and is included here. MY FAVORITE THINGS: 60th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION will be available on May 20 as a 180-gram double-LP set ($24.98) and as a double-CD set ($34.98) and is available for pre-order now.
The LPs come packaged in a replica of the original record sleeve with a booklet that features rare photos, ephemera from the period, and new liner notes written by acclaimed music journalist/author Ben Ratliff.
In the notes, Ratliff offers his take on “My Favorite Things.” “For a record that so many people listened to, the LP version of ‘My Favorite Things’ travels impressively far; it demonstrably goes somewhere,” says Ratliff. “It also remains ambivalent through its juxtaposition of E major and E minor. It spins you around; it gives you enough of the pleasant impression, sometimes, that you don’t know where you are or what song you’re in. It is a remarkable cross of extremism and tact.”
Coltrane was introduced to the soprano saxophone in late 1959 and soon after started playing it in addition to his regular tenor sax. His first recorded performances on the instrument are included on My Favorite Things. He recorded the music in October 1960 with the first version of the John Coltrane Quartet, which included McCoy Tyner (piano), Steve Davis (double bass), and Elvin Jones (drums). Shortly before the sessions began, Coltrane discussed the soprano sax with Down Beat magazine: “I’ve had to adopt a slightly different approach than the one I use for tenor, but it helps me get away—lets me take another look at improvisation. It’s like having another hand.”
A year after My Favorite Things came out, John Coltrane spoke to Jazz Hot magazine about the album. He said, “‘My Favorite Things’ is my favorite piece of everything we’ve recorded. I don’t think I’d like to redo it in any other way, although all the other records I’ve done could be improved by a few details. This waltz is fantastic: when you play it slowly, it has a ‘gospel’ aspect, which is not at all unpleasant; when you play it fast, it has certain other undeniable qualities. It’s very interesting to discover a terrain that renews itself according to the impulse that you give it; that’s the reason why we don’t always play this tune in the same tempo.”