All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

1

Phil Haynes: My Favorite Things (1960-1969)

Geno Thackara By

Sign in to view read count
For some reason, cover songs almost always seem to come across more jokey in folk/bluegrass mode than any other. There's just a certain innate good humor in upbeat romps with acoustic string instruments, especially so when the treatment is applied to formerly loud rock and roll songs. Perhaps it also feels that way because such pieces so often serve as cute one-off novelties in an otherwise straightfoward set. Drummer Phil Haynes and his "freewheeling jazz-grass string band" here, on the other hand, generally avoid twangy sounds—the lineup is cello/guitar/bass/drums—and never treat this set of beloved material with less than full sincerity.

That's not to say My Favorite Things (1960-1969) doesn't have its share of humor. There are few performers who can avoid laughs with James Brown's "Sex Machine," and they even straight-facedly render the Star Trek theme in jaunty technicolor glory. Still, those moments only reinforce the clear sense of fun and camaraderie that runs throughout the set. The crew reworks their chosen chestnuts, sometimes quite radically, always with affection and respect.

Haynes provides a nimble foundation behind the skins, though Jim Yanda's guitar work and the deep-toned cello of Hank Roberts serve more as the in-front leads with impressively versatile picking and bowing. Roberts has quite a range of his own in handling the occasional vocal duties, though at least half the time, one of their instruments takes the lead line and stands in for the words (which are sometimes unnecessary when the melodies get mutated anyway). It feels unfair not to single out Drew Gress for praise as well, though he primarily does his job by not standing out—he and Haynes make a rhythm unit whose strength rests in tight and non-flashy interplay.

The arrangements through this double-disc set wander far and wide, making the results inevitably somewhat hit-and-miss (if interestingly so). The tie-dye haze of "California Dreaming" and "Surfer Girl" gets slowed down almost to avant-garde range. Otis Redding's "Respect" loses the verses in favor of a sort of jazzy barn dance. An eclectic Beatles mini-suite kicks off the second disc by concisely summarizing both the strengths and flaws of the album as a whole. Two bright portions of "Here Comes the Sun" make a sweet and charming highlight; an enervating slow drag through "Hey Jude," not so much.

With the band not quite being content with rock and pop chestnuts, a dose of John Coltrane takes the late stretch from quasi-humorous to earnestly spiritual. You can hardly aim much higher than A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964), and from the affectionate and understated "Resolution" motif to a spoken poem adapted from Trane's own devotional, this treatment manages to be just different and humble enough to stand on its own. They've still impressively saved the best for last; Roberts' expressive bowing wrings emotional shades out of "Both Sides Now" as eloquently as Joni Mitchell ever has herself. The set has some crazy ups and downs, but it's these simply beautiful moments that linger most when it's over.

Track Listing: CD1: Little Wing; Purple Haze; Fire; Do You Know the Way to San Jose; Surfer Girl; Walk On By; California Dreaming; What's Going On; R.E.S.P.E.C.T.; Touch Me; People Are Strange; Come Together; What a Wonderful World. CD2: Here Comes the Sun; And I Love Her; Let It Be; Mother Nature's Son; Hey Jude; Here Comes the Sun; Cracker Speak; Sex Machine; Star Trek; Somewhere; A Love Supreme; Resolution; My Favorite Things; Both Sides Now.

Personnel: Hank Roberts: cello, vocals; Jim Yanda: guitar; Drew Gress: bass; Phil Haynes: drums.

Title: My Favorite Things (1960-1969) | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Corner Store Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Little Wing

Little Wing

Phil Haynes
My Favorite Things (1960-1969)

Kabuki

Kabuki

Phil Haynes
Sanctuary

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
My Favorite Things (1960-1969)

My Favorite Things...

Corner Store Jazz
2018

buy
Settings for Three

Settings for Three

CornerStoreJazz
2018

buy
Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Self Produced
2016

buy
Sanctuary

Sanctuary

Self Produced
2015

buy
In Concert

In Concert

Self Produced
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Terrestrial Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Terrestrial Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 8, 2018
Read "The Sum Of My Pardon" CD/LP/Track Review The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Love, Life, Experiences, Vol. 2: Driving to Purpose" CD/LP/Track Review Love, Life, Experiences, Vol. 2: Driving to Purpose
by Jim Olin
Published: September 9, 2018
Read "Ghost Box" CD/LP/Track Review Ghost Box
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 31, 2018
Read "Awareness" CD/LP/Track Review Awareness
by Chris May
Published: August 4, 2018