The dark nights are drawing in and information overload is simmering nicely. A winter of discontent awaits; a possible Trump presidency (I honestly don’t know what Hillary Clinton has done to warrant such bad press. Surely what she may be capable of is dwarfed by Trump’s narcissistic instability). The old enemy Russia being talked up again as being aggressive and with its fingers in every pie, especially the virtual ones. It’s denial of any wrong doing being something you want to believe, but evidence and policy of disinformation are characteristic of its current direction. The algorithms are throbbing on the desk and we can’t see the wood for the trees, which is why there really isn’t much point in anything else but to be nice to each other while stocks last.
So it’s at times like this that I like to revisit great evocative moments of the past. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it was that I first heard Coltrane’s ‘My Favourite Things’, but it was in the early eighties, and it came courtesy of his ‘Coltraneology Volume One’ which was recorded in Stockholm, 1961. Memories are foggy regarding whether I was still living at my mum’s, or had already gone to live at Fort Street in New Brighton, but money was tight and I had started using Earlston Library for records as well as books. I remember borrowing a copy of ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, in which various passages were read. Incredible stuff, and much better than reading it; (I’ve still got a thirty-five year-old copy on my bookshelf which I’ve barely opened.) It was jazz that I mainly took out though, the records they had there, mainly comprising what looked like off-cuts from the ball room music centre of a long dead holiday camp. There were some diamonds in the rough though, ‘Coltraneology Volume One’ being the most precious.
It’s all about ‘My Favourite Things’ however. There’s a great feeling of the epoch within its grooves and if a more emotive composition exists then I’ve yet to hear it. I played this whole album to death, and ‘My Favourite Things’ so much that I constantly put it at the top of my list of all time picks. I remember listening to it one morning , with the sun coming up after having stayed up all night on acid, the traces of the drug starting to ebb away and leaving that lovely drained feeling to be supplemented by hash. Nothing could have been more perfect, And to think I first came across the song in a music lesson at secondary school in a songbook for ‘The Sound Of Music.’
This isn't the version from the album, but it's with the same personnel (I think) and, even though Eric Dolphy's flute sounds screwed, the ambience is still there. Pity it's only ten minutes long though.