PHAROAH SANDERS / “My Favorite Things”

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2 Responses to “PHAROAH SANDERS / “My Favorite Things””

webster Says:
August 18th, 2008 at 5:02 am

You know, unlike what many might assume, Trane actually had a respect for the original "square ass" tune, as you put it. He wasn’t trying to "show the squares"Rodgers and Hammerstein by turning their original into a mind blowing revolution, it came about because he saw something good in it.

          kalamu sez:           

i agree with the first point you make and disagree with the second.

1. trane absolutely had a respect for all life and without assuming to know what he was thinking in terms of the song as a song, i do believe he respected the authors of "favorite things." indeed, since the song had anti-nazi sentiments embedded in it, i think he agreed.

2. revolutions don’t just happen. revolutions are intentionally made. trane’s creation came out revolutionary not because of the good that was in the original song but rather because of what trane put into the song.

a general characteristic of african american culture specifically and most cultures of the african diaspora in general is that those cultures are transformative. they take forms from outside themselves and transform those forms by putting themselves (their views, experiences, modalities i.e. ways of functioning) into those forms, or more precisely we used the basic forms as vehicles for self-expression.

i think we both agree that trane created a revolution. ask yourself, if something is cool from the get go, why would you want or need to have a revolution? fifties america was not cool, pure, good and groovy (as mainstream apologists would like us to believe). in order to fully express ourselves, our ideals, our beliefs and dreams, we had to create a revolution.

the revolution in music didn’t just happen to happen. the revolution was consciously created. how do we know? one indication is what happened after trane first recorded the song. listen to versions of the song pre-trane and contrast them with versions of the song post-trane. indeed, listen to the many versions of the song trane recorded. trane was consciously bringing about a major change of authority, i.e. making a revolution.

finally, if you want to read an indepth discussion of coltrane and "my favorite things" go here ( and check out "John Coltrane – Avant Garde Jazz and The Evolution of ‘My Favorite Things’ ", a thesis by Scott Anderson. Fascinating reading.

thanks much for your comments.



rich Says:
August 21st, 2008 at 7:40 am

kind of interesting to note as an appendum to the above exchange that Hammerstein himself was, at one stage, considered a little revolutionary in terms of his lyrics and their content. His contribution with Kern and ,later with Rodgers, is credited with transforming musical theatre and adding a degree of complexity and depth of purpose that was previously lacking in the entertainment – including the tackling of issues of race. no doubt part of the “squareness” of the guy’s rep rest with the our ability to be retrospective and the schmaltz of the film versions of the stage shows with which he was involved. now music theatre does tend to leave me pretty cold, and R & H aint really no exception, but traversing the waters of what makes something hip and square is sometimes quite an interesting and challenging trip

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