How John Coltrane’s ‘My Favorite Things’ Changed American Music (Jeff MacGregor, January/February 2024, Smithsonian)

It’s a timeless song and quite possibly the most American recording in history: composed by the grandsons of German and Russian Jews, about an Austrian family fleeing the Nazis on their way to America, played by an African American genius in a vernacular American style, produced by one Turkish American for a record label owned by another Turkish American. The recording is not in or of the melting pot. It is the melting pot.

It was also a pivotal moment in Coltrane’s career and in his artistry, a tipping point of technique and inspiration, of practice and poetry, of his widening understanding of himself and his place in things. In that single landmark recording, you can feel Coltrane fully embrace the entirety of his promise, not only as a saxophonist, but also as a bandleader, composer and arranger. And maybe as a man.