John Coltrane Plays “My Favorite Things”

My Favorite Things is the seventh studio album by jazz great John Coltrane, released in 1961 on Atlantic Records. It was the first album to feature Coltrane playing soprano saxophone.

The famous track is a modal rendition of the Rodgers & Hammerstein song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. The melody is heard numerous times throughout, but instead of playing solos over the written chord changes, both pianist McCoy Tyner and Coltrane take extended solos over vamps of the two tonic chords, E minor and E major, played in waltz time.

Also on this album: “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”/Cole Porter 13:42; “Summertime”/George & Ira Gershwin 19:25; “But Not for Me”/George & Ira Gershwin 31:00

In the documentary The World According to John Coltrane, narrator Ed Wheeler remarks on the impact that this song’s popularity had on Coltrane’s career:

In 1960, Coltrane left Miles Davis and formed his own quartet to further explore modal playing, freer directions, and a growing Indian influence. They transformed ‘My Favorite Things’, the cheerful populist song from The Sound of Music, into a hypnotic eastern dervish dance. The recording was a hit and became Coltrane’s most requested tune—and a bridge to broad public acceptance.”

St John Coltrane.jpg
Yes this place exists. Church of St John Coltrane, 2097 Turk Street, San Francisco. Sound meditation every Sunday at noon.

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The Gang at Cheers Sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to Their Despondent Pregnant Barmaid

Season 1, episode 15. 1982. Said Donna Bowman of the A.V. Club: “You’ll Never Walk Alone” [in the episode] took me totally aback. I can’t think of very many sitcom moments that hit that exact tone. I kept waiting for the punchline, and there’s no doubt that we’re intended to smile at the parade of patrons mumbling along under Diane’s leadership, but Carla’s reception of the gesture transforms it into the sincere expression of support that was intended. When we see her continue up the stairs, the camera following her through the window, it’s a moment that reassures the audience in a very specific way. We know Carla’s children’s welfare is actually really important, the moment says. Carla’s, too. These people are trying to do a good thing. We’re going to let them do it. You can imagine a million jokes that would undercut that message for the sake of a laugh. But they don’t come. It’s like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for our emotions: “Invest with confidence.”

cheers sings you'll never walk alone

“June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, Played by The John Wilson Orchestra, Conducted by John Wilson, BBC Proms 2010

There was one number in the entire JWO Salute to Rodgers & Hammerstein that was worth a damn—only one, but it’s a doozy.

John Wilson June

An impressive list of orchestrators went into the making of this film musical number, including Nelson Riddle, Earle Hagen (That Girl Theme, The Dick Van Dyke Show Theme, The Andy Griffith Show Theme) and John Williams; you can hear the layers and layers of gorgeous sound in John and his Orchestra’s rendition.

This clip is from the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, 2010, but really, listen instead to this cut from the JWO’s 2011 recording:

“June Is Bustin’ Out All Over”
from Rodgers & Hammerstein At The Movies

Lea Salonga and Jose Llana in the 2002 Revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song with a New Book by David Henry Hwang

Lea Salonga Jose Llana Flower Drum Song

When Flower Drum Song opened on 14 October 2001 at the 739-seat Mark Taper Forum with an all-Asian cast the production received rave reviews from the Los Angeles critics. The show regularly sold out and was so popular it became the first show at the Taper to extend its scheduled run. It finally closed on 13 January 2002.