John Coltrane: My Favorite Things

Heavyweight red vinyl reissue of the saxophonist's 1960 mostly changes album, made before he fully committed to the modal method


What can be said that hasn’t already been said about this seminal Coltrane album, especially when Brian Morton helpfully provides the liner notes and a ready-made review? It’s one of Coltrane’a most accessible (and commercially successful) albums and the first time he recorded using the soprano saxophone. You would always always expect great things from Coltrane, but this is no solo affair and all the musicians are on top of their game. For me, however, the piano work of McCoy Tyner (particularly on My Favorite Things) is outstanding and helps make this album something special.

This reissue comes on heavyweight (180-gram) red vinyl. This is not the heaviest disc I have come across, but better than the standard weight since heavier vinyl provides for a more stable and vibration-free platform. The pressing is crisp and clean, although it does need a good hi-fi system (particularly deck, arm and cartridge) to pick the bones clean. Having done a simple A–B comparison between CD and vinyl, I have no doubt vinyl is the clear winner. Instruments are perfectly separated and the original was beautifully recorded and mixed by Nesuhi Ertegun. The overall sound is perfection and this release certainly offers audiophile quality.

This album is not in its original sleeve, with Coltrane holding his soprano saxophone against a dark blue background. This time we get a somewhat cheesy smile from Trane, who’s wearing a DJ and holding a tenor sax. It does, however come with the aforementioned liner notes from Brian Morton (taken from the Penguin Guide To Jazz) which is a welcome addition.

There’s also a bonus track (isn’t there always?) to give you another reason to buy. This time it’s Like Sonny, recorded a month earlier in Los Angeles and with Billy Higgins replacing Elvin Jones on drums. All in all, this is a worthy addition to anyone’s new or growing vinyl collection. Is it worth purchasing if you already have this on vinyl? Possibly, if high fidelity is as important to you as the music and you have an audio system that costs more than the average family car!

(1) My Favorite Things; Every Time We Say Goodbye (18.87)Summertime; But Not For Me; (2) Like Sonny (24.26)
(1) Coltrane (ss, ts); McCoy Tyner (p); Elvin Jones (d); Steve Davis (b). Atlantic Studios, New York, 21, 24, 26 October 1960.
(2) as (1) but with Billy Higgins replacing Elvin Jones. Los Angeles, 8 September 1960.
20th Century Masterworks Colored Series 350233