One of the amazing things for me about YouTube and Facebook is how folks on Facebook will recommend a YouTube video or site with an embedded video that leads you to something even greater. That happened this morning, as a Facebook friend recommended checking out a stellar John Coltrane version of ‘My Favorite Things’, which I did … but then it led me to this site that had an even BETTER find: a collection of three televised concerts of John Coltrane from the 1960s.
Coltrane rose to fame as a saxophone sideman for Miles Davis’ legendary ‘first great quintet’. His work on records such as ‘Workin’, ‘Steamin’, ‘Cookin’, ‘Relaxin’ and of course the oft-called greatest-jazz-record-ever ‘Kind of Blue’ gained him tremendous popularity, so when he went out on his own he immediately attracted a great deal of attention. Based on his recordings the attention was well deserved, as he carved out one of the greatest recorded catalogs in all of modern music over his short career before his death in 1967.
The first of the three recordings is somewhat of an anomaly, as it is actually a Miles Davis concert, but Miles was unable to play that night. But since it was a multi-band performance the ‘show must go on’, and Coltrane stepped up as leader. The guests on the set included legendary saxophonist Stan Getz and pianist Oscar Peterson. Here is the song list:
- On Green Dolphin Street
- The Theme
- Autumn leaves
- What’s New
- Autumn in New York
The next set comes after Coltrane had released his ‘My Favorite Things’ record and was the rising star of jazz. He has some of his ‘classic quartet’ in place, with Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone and flute (who died after slipping into a diabetic coma in 1964), McCoy Tyner on Piano, Reggie Workman on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. The group was already starting to stretch out considerably, with the following few songs comprising a half-hour set. Impressions has always been one of my favorite Coltrane songs, and this is a stellar version.
- My Favorite Things
- Everytime We Say Goodbye
And finally, as he was branching more and more into the avant garde, he is seen one last time with his Classic Quartet of Tyner and Jones on piano and drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass. Comparing ‘My Favorite Things’ between 1961 and 1965 is an amazing study on how Coltrane grew harmonically and how his group grew in terms of expressive intercommunication through the years.
- My Favorite Things
Check it out: