I listened back to it and can only say I totally disagree with the op.
I listened back to it and can only say I totally disagree with the op.
I dislike his entire album "My Favorite Things." But his later recordings of that tune are just amazing explorations.
Wonderful version of the tune, and probably one of my favorite piano solos of all time. It's hypnotic!
I think of a rube as being a simple person amongst people of culture. Thanks for moving the thread.
I started loving the soprano around 1962. At the time, if you wanted to hear a recording, you were limited to Art Kassel, Guy Lombardo or old remastered Bechet recordings (he died around 1959). When Coltrane came along it started the soprano craze and put it back on the map. Although I too think FT is a dorky song, for the time, his soprano playing was unequaled.
Hey thanks for educating this rube nube! I like Coltrane, I like that tune, and I like what he did with the soprano on that tune and elsewhere. Some people disagree.
I like what they all do on the various versions of this tune.
It is a mood that they are creating.
I especially like how JC goes into that major pentatonic thingy at
the start of his solos. It gives it a nice lift from the minor sound.
I don't think it does that on the film version ??
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As to the tonality of his soprano style, you also have to remember that at the time a lot of people who had already been listening to folk music, blues, rock and jazz, were now getting into Indian and other non-western musics. Aside from Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, two of the most influental Indian musicians at the time, there was Ustad Bismillah Khan a player of the shenai, an oboe-like instrument (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hveeMDC6Dro). A lot of people were attracted to and entranced by it's hypnotic melodic qualities and its quite different tonalities and harmonies and became atuned to them in a way that people today, lacking that context, are obviously generally not. If you think Coltrane souned snake charmerish on soprano, listening to the Shenai, which is the real thing, will put that kind of sound in clearer context.
I just found Dave Liebman's comments about the soprano and its development in jazz, and he talks about this, so they are important to consider here:
That said, personally, while I found Trane's soprano sound fantastic back then, more lately after decades of hearing other people on soprano I have realized that in some recordings at least I find it too nasal, grating and...uhmm....snake charmerish. I still am moved by his musical lines, but either due to change in taste or aging auditory response, his soprano tone is not as appealing to me now.The truth is that I came upon the soprano saxophone by chance. After exclusively playing the tenor from age twelve, I began my relationship with the soprano when landing my first full time job as a musician in 1970 with one of the early pioneering fusion bands, Ten Wheel Drive....It wasn't as if I hadn't heard a soprano. Having seen John Coltrane's group dozens of times in New York from 1961 until he died in 1967 I had definitely been inspired by the intense and individual way he played the horn.
At present it is difficult for any jazz fan to envision a world with little soprano saxophone front and center. But in 1969, there were only two major living exponents of the soprano since Coltrane had passed in two years earlier. Of course, you could go back a few decades to Sidney Bechet, but I didn't research him until much later. Any discussion of the modern soprano saxophone has to begin with Steve Lacy, who from 1967 lived in France for decades. Although he began on the clarinet, he became enamored of Bechet and another player on the soprano, Bob Wilber. By the early 1960s, Steve was immersed in the soprano playing some very notable music focusing on Thelonius Monk tunes for awhile, then collaborating with the early avant garde players like Roswell Rudd and Cecil Taylor. Lacy played only soprano and for that fact as well as his unique style, Steve had already carved a niche out for himself by the mid 60s.
But I wasn't that familiar with Lacy's music and his influence upon me was negligible. As mentioned, I saw Coltrane...and marveled at how differently he played the soprano..., using trills and tremolos as well as long legato runs with a tone reminiscent of the double reed family (oboe and english horn). There was as well a marked influence from the ethnic family of instruments, for example the Indian shenai. Like so many other young musicians, I was captivated by Coltrane and it was his direct influence that most inspired me to want to seriously play jazz. But that is another story.
Note: emphasis added.
Anyway, I think the point that Hakukani is making is that in order to make value judgements of any depth about something as complex as art and music, it is good to have at least some historical context for its development. Sure, anyone can listen to music or look at art and have an opinion about it without having studied music history or art history, but such opinions are often flip reactions lacking any profundity or real depth of understanding ("It sounds good and you can dance to it.").
Actually, it's inexplicable to me that a lot of young music students can play jazz without actually knowing much of anything about its history or without even listening to it or liking it much. It's not that they had to have been around listening for years and years like some of us old farts, but shouldn't they at least have some curiousity about who created what they are playing and why? Am I alone in finding it really weird when you hear people say they play in their school or college jazz band (often out of choice) but don't know who Bird was or even care to actively listen and find out, and that in fact they prefer stuff like hip-hop or Kenny G.
IMO, people new to 50's - 70's jazz &/or those who don't totally write it off as archaic music created by unimportant dead guys should remember that what Trane was doing harmonically was so new that they coined a term, "sheets of sound", to describe it. It's impact and influence was so profound that for decades since then we've heard everyone and his brother playing this style of music so much that now of course it is old hat. Trane clearly got lost in the shuffle of a succession of fervent disciples and/or copyists such as Brecker, Liebman, Redman, Garzone, Bergonzi, et al, (although IMO none of them has overshadowed him).
I suppose that's what gives rise to a comment dismissing him as sounding "like he was a high school player trying to play jazz for the first time after a few lessons", when in fact he is the one who created the exact musical language that lots of today's real rosy-cheeked high-school and college music program kids try so hard to play even though they have zero interior connection to the essence of it. Paint by numbers is not art! Van Gogh created his paintings out of the raw materials of his guts and his soul's yearning, not from a book filled with color combinations. Likewise with the music of Coltrane and all the other greats who had a real impact on jazz.
Nevertheless, just the other week there was a thread on SOTW touting a wonderous "Seventeen Year Old Coltrane" (http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthr...ounds+coltrane) merely because he can regurgitate a whole rapid cascade of passionless and decontextualized chordal patterns which he undoubtedly memorized from written transcriptions of the vibrant music that Trane forged directly from the core of his being.
Not personally liking what Coltrane played is one thing, and that's fine, but denying its greatness or thinking that it was just something ordinary that anyone can hack out or string together from learning a lot of patterns is totally wrong IMO. I think it is pretty sad if people don't hear and know the difference.
Music is a magic elixir. It renews the spirit and fills the soul with joy -- Jazz Is All
"It's all about the spirit. The body will be gone in a blink, but the spirit never dies. That is jazz." -- Sonny Rollins
One of the last recordings available of My Favorite things made by Coltrane, is the version at "Live at The Village Vanguard Again!", with Rashed Ali, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison and Emanuel Rahim, recorded in 1966.
I think he developed his own way of playing the soprano light years from "Central Park West" (1960), specially the powerful tone that can be heard on the 1966 version of MFT.
I love his sound on soprano, including the original version of MFT, I think his concept of playing was beyond a naif song.
Yup. Still a great recording.
I suggest folks go find themselves a copy of "Selflessness" or maybe there is a clip on youtube. The cut of "My Favorite Things" is live with Roy Haynes on drums as Elvin could not make the tour do to I think.. problems with the law. That tracks, just close your eyes and take it in for whatever 30 minutes or something.. no good to listen to it like a be-bop critic. It takes you on a journey and if you can let down your analytical, judgmental head trip enough, you may actually hear what Coltrane was trying to SAY. yeah, he was trying to SAY something, and it had little to do with the 'stylings' or cerebral analysis of the notes he was playing, or the structures of his solos etc.
Coltrane, was in touch with something great, truly great, and if you can clear the crap out of your head enough to hear what he is saying you will be touched, deeply. That is what he was about. Frankly, for a lot of people what he was trying to say might have been simply too.. tender to feel comfortable. We live in a hard world, and many people are simply not prepared to deal with that kind of feeling.
As for Coltrane's playing on soprano on that song, his tone, intonation and control of the horn are not good - he seems to fail to hit some palm key notes at certain points - but I absolutely love the content.
The last recorded version of MFT for Coltrane was the Olatunji Concert, recorded live shortly before Coltrane died.
The sheer intensity and explosion of sound and rhythm is off the charts. The sound is raw and full of pain but never dark or brooding, always full of life.
I think it's the definitive version, the culmination of all those other versions.
I have a friend in Amsterdam who has collected every bootleg live version of Coltrane, and we spent a day listening to every version of MFT. The evolution was astonishing and the level of intensity, night after night, was phenomenal.
Sure, he'd be fired from the show band at the Trump casino, but that wasn't what he was about.
Lacy's comment about Coltrane's soprano was a reflection that Coltrane wasn't investigating the soprano as a unique instrument, just using it as a different sound. Perhaps that changed a bit over the years but probably not a lot by Lacy's measurement of "investigation".
But for sheer beauty and depth of feeling, listen to EVERY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE.
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