Listen to the recording and write a post between 300 to 350 words.
John Coltrane, “My Favorite Things” (Rodgers/Hammerstein), New York, October 21, 1960. John Coltrane, soprano saxophone (ss); McCoy Tyner, piano (p); Steve Davis, bass (b); Elvin Jones, drums (d)
Topic 1: The order of solos in this piece is: Coltrane (melody), Tyner, Coltrane. Regarding the solos of Coltrane and Tyner: Listen to the recording and provide counter numbers for the beginning and end of these two solos. Note: Tyner plays the A section and then “vamps” with the pedal point in the bass before he begins to solo. A vamp is when one or two chords are repeated usually with a pedal point. Coltrane also states the A section in his solo. Describe their solo styles. Listen to how they phrase or create musical lines over the chord changes. Try to include some detail. Are Tyner and Coltrane soloing on the chord changes of the melody? What are the modal characteristics of the solo sections of this piece? Coltrane worked with many influential pianists: such as Monk, Flanagan and Evans. What makes McCoy different from these other pianists? Tyner makes use of quartal harmony and repeating patterns. Quartal harmony is chords constructed in 4ths rather than 3rds. Describe how this sounds. Also, describe the rhythmic feel of drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Davis during Coltrane’s solo. Would you describe the style of these soloists as bop, hard bop, modal, elements of all or something else? Explain in detail using what you’ve learned from the Lessons about these particular styles.
Here is a sample response.
Blue in Green, Topic 1
There are a total of three soloists in the piece “Blue in Green.” Miles Davis is the first soloist that can be heard; his solo starts at 0:18 and ends at 1:46. Bill Evans’ solo is next and lasts from 1:46 to 2:27. This solo is followed by John Coltrane’s, which begins at 2:27 and concludes at 3:09. Evans then has another solo that extends from 3:10 to 3:31. The last solo in the piece belongs to Davis and it lasts from 3:32 to 4:55.
Each of the musicians unifies the piece with their solos by continually blending in improvisations of their own to the melody with which the last soloist left off. This continued blending of improvisations throughout the piece serves to add the soloists’ unique voice to the song while also adding a sense of unification.
The style of all of these solos is cool jazz. This style is characterized by a more relaxed tempo and a lighter tone. Cool jazz style is different than the more upbeat and complex bebop styles that we have listened to in this course thus far. Some elements of hard bop that this piece contained were a slow tempo and a hard bop response to the cool jazz at the end of the song. This response included a more intense and emotive sound that was of medium tempo and had a strong driving rhythm.
When transitioning into their solos, Evans and Coltrane immediately enter the moment Davis’ solo ends. All of the musicians seem to gently fade out of their solos as the next musician gracefully begins theirs. They all seem to blend the melody into their improvisations. The main melody is simple, evocative, and begins almost every measure with a long tone. My overall impression of this piece is that it is extremely relaxing and would be played over dinner or while reading/studying.