Arguably John Coltrane's most beloved and commercially successful album, "My Favorite Things" more than earns its vaunted reputation by reworking a group of standards, deconstructing them and grafting new avant-garde concepts to their framework, transforming them into masterpieces that transcend their source material in the process. The legendary title track starts things off, turning a simple standard with an irrepressibly catchy hook into a hypnotic, nearly fourteen minute long showcase for intricate modal soloing by both Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, flavored with a far eastern influence that reflects both men's then-burgeoning interest in Asian music and cultures. A rendition of Cole Porter's "Everytime We Say Goodbye" has new life breathed into it with a number of exquisite runs by Coltrane on his new soprano sax, which had only been given to him by Miles Davis a year earlier, demonstrating just how quickly he was able to not only pick up the new instrument, but immediately make it sound uniquely his own. "Summertime", from Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess", gets turned into a fervid musical personification of a summer storm, with Coltrane's famous "sheets of sound" coming in like lightning and thunder, which is then cooled like a summer rain by Tyner's cascading chords, followed by an extended drum and bass interlude by Davis and Jones, before Coltrane comes in like a Tempest again at the end. Another Gershwin classic, "But Not For Me" closes things out with an appliqué of his trademark Coltrane changes that adds new layers of texture to the harmony as it plays out over an extended modal coda. Absolutely essential listening that manages to be as complex as it is comforting.
The definitive version...
Like Jimi Hendrix covering Bob Dylan’s Along the Watchtower made it the quintessential version of the song, Coltrane does this with this Sound of Music cover. The shape of things to come with him, to take this show tune and make it an extended modal jam, as well as use a varied chord progression when playing the tune. Jam music from the grateful dead to Phish really has this tune to thank.