My Favorite Things

One of my least favorite things in the Sound of Music, which is itself one of my least favorite things in the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue, is the hokey and saccharine “My Favorite Things.” As performed in the 1965 film version by Julie Andrews, the thing is enough to send you screaming from the twentieth century with your hands over your ears.

But then, fortunately for the twentieth century, and for the need to wash the acrid taste of artificial sweetener from one’s soul, there is the 1961 improvisation on this song by John Coltrane, the original recording of which features McCoy Tyner on piano — and I mean really features Tyner, in what becomes a highlight of this performance, which is really saying something.

I see the news today that McCoy Tyner has died at age eighty-one. As I think of it, the age of his death seems remarkably young, since it shows him to have been only twenty-two at most when he recorded this classic performance with the Coltrane band. All the more impressive.

Take a while to enjoy a recording that stands as one of the genuine, non-sugared “favorite things” of many jazz fans around the world, and understandably so.

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