An edited version of the 14-minute original was a radio hit that spring. The song’s success helped introduce Coltrane to a wider audience, while the album would inspire later generations of fans. In recognition of the album’s enduring artistic and historical significance, “My Favorite Things” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and awarded gold in 2018.
Rhino celebrates the 60th anniversary of My Favorite Things with Deluxe Editions on vinyl and CD. Each release features new stereo and mono mixes remastered from the original tapes. The mono mix, thought lost, was recently rediscovered and is included here The LPs come in a replica of the original record sleeve with a booklet containing rare photos, ephemera from the era and new liner notes by renowned music journalist/author Ben Ratliff.
In the notes, Ratliff offers his take on “My Favorite Things”: “For a record that so many people have heard, the LP version of ‘My Favorite Things’ goes impressively far; it demonstrably goes somewhere. The juxtaposition of E major and E minor also keeps it ambivalent. It swirls you around; it sometimes gives you the pleasant impression that you don’t know where you are or what song you’re in. It’s a remarkable blend of extremism and tact.
Coltrane learned about the soprano saxophone in late 1959 and soon began playing it in addition to his regular tenor saxophone. His first recordings on this instrument can be heard on My Favorite Things. He recorded the music in October 1960 with the first version of the John Coltrane Quartet, which included McCoy Tyner (piano), Steve Davis (double bass) and Elvin Jones (drums). Just before the sessions began, Coltrane spoke to Down Beat magazine about the soprano saxophone: “I had to take a slightly different approach than the one I use for the tenor saxophone, but it helps me get away – lets me take a different look at improvisation. It’s like I have a different hand.”
A year after the release of My Favorite Things, John Coltrane spoke to Jazz Hot magazine about the album. He said, “My Favorite Things is my favorite of everything we recorded. I don’t think I’d want to remake it in any other way, although all the other records I’ve made could be improved by a few details. This waltz is fantastic: “If you play it slowly, it has a gospel-like quality, which is not at all unpleasant; if you play it fast, it has certain other undeniable qualities. It’s very interesting to discover a terrain that renews itself depending on the impulse you give it; that’s the reason why we don’t always play this melody at the same tempo.”