How about the other gigantic tenorsax feature from John Coltrane’s fabulous album My Favorite Things? — The album doesn’t only feature Trane’s very first steps on the soprano sax (My Favorite Things & Everytime We Say Goodbye) but also two outstanding, though somehow neglected versions of very popular George Gershwin songs:
Summertime – which I have posted three days ago (see below) – and But Not For Me.
As I’ve written somewhere already (in German):
Those renditions of two standards, which became American folk songs, are both presented in a row on the 2nd side of “My Favorite Things”. This may be one of the reasons why they didn’t get the attention they doubtlessly would have deserved.
No other jazz improvisor dared to alter the melodies and the chord progressions in the unique way, as Trane has done it. (Blog owner’s note: Tadd Dameron’s “Tadd’s Delight” is based on “But Not For Me”, by the way.)
He quasi recomposed Gershwin’s songs from the 1930’s, and made them his very own. (He did the same with many other standards, Body And Soul (on Coltrane’s Sound), or the later ‘live’ version of Bye, Bye Blackbird are prominently standing out here.)
I don’t want to go into many musicological details, but the changes are significant, though they never destroy the forms, or throw the originals over board.
Trane carefully altered the melody here and there, so that his new harmonic approach would fit. No one else but John Coltrane could have imagined to play these tunes that way.
For me personally, it’s completely impossible to play them without having Coltrane’s sound in mind. You can’t copy it, you can only do it differently (as I tried it with my special arrangement of Summertime).
Trane’s deepness, the preacher-like, though happy declamations of those two tracks made them to classics in their own league. I hope you’ll enjoy two of my favorite things.
Sincerely yours truly,
Credits: John Coltrane (ts) McCoy Tyner (p) Steve Davis (b) Elvin Jones (d) – NYC, October 26, 1960
Although I don’t like the cover art, is this of course one of my favorite John Coltrane albums. Enjoy “Body And Soul” & other standards à la Trane!