The Best of John Coltrane

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The Best of John Coltrane
A photograph of John Coltrane's torso, holding his right hand up to his head with a thick black border and the album and song titles around him
Greatest hits album by
ReleasedFebruary 1970 (1970-02)
RecordedApril–May 1959 ("Cousin Mary", "Giant Steps", and "Naima") and October 21, 24 and 26, 1960 ("Central Park West", "Equinox", and "My Favorite Things") at Atlantic Studios, New York City, United States
GenreHard bop, modal jazz
ProducerNesuhi Ertegun
CompilerNesuhi Ertegun[1]

The Best of John Coltrane is a 1970 compilation album released by Atlantic Records collecting recordings made by jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. The album was released shortly after his death as a part of the "Atlantic Jazz Anthology"—a series of greatest hits compilations for Atlantic jazz artists—and features performances from his brief period recording for Atlantic with new liner notes by jazz journalist Nat Hentoff.

Recording and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide5/5 stars[2]

Three songs—"Cousin Mary", "Giant Steps", and "Naima"—come from his 1959 sessions for the album Giant Steps and represent the height of Coltrane's experimentation with Coltrane changes and sheets of sound. His cover version of "My Favorite Things" is a modal jazz interpretation of the standard Rodgers and Hammerstein composition from the album of the same name and was recorded in 1960 concurrent with the songs from 1964's Coltrane's Sound ("Central Park West" and "Equinox".) Although his recordings with Atlantic were a brief portion of his career,[3] they represent a dramatic shift in his genre of jazz playing toward experimental free jazz as well as a change from tenor to soprano saxophone and the introduction of his classic quartet on the 1960 material.[1] As this album only compiles his Atlantic material, it is not representative of his entire discography,[4] the bulk of which was recorded for Impulse! Records. The album reached No. 20 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart[5] in February 1971.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs composed by John Coltrane and published by Jowcol, BMI, except "My Favorite Things", composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein and published by Williamson ASCAP

Side one
  1. "My Favorite Things" (from My Favorite Things, 1961) – 13:41
  2. "Naima" (from Giant Steps, 1960) – 4:21
  3. "Giant Steps" (from Giant Steps) – 4:43
Side two
  1. "Equinox" (from Coltrane's Sound, 1964) – 8:33
  2. "Cousin Mary" (from Giant Steps) – 5:45
  3. "Central Park West" (from Coltrane's Sound) – 4:12


Musicians on Giant Steps
Musicians on Coltrane's Sound and My Favorite Things
  • John Coltrane – soprano saxophone on "My Favorite Things", tenor and soprano saxophone on "Central Park West" and "Equinox", band leader
  • Steve Davis – double bass
  • Elvin Jones – drums
  • McCoy Tyner – piano
Additional personnel

Release history[edit]

Date Label Format Catalog
February 1970 Atlantic LP SD-1541
September 17, 1990 Atlantic Compact Disc 1541‒2


  1. ^ a b Planer, Lindsay. "The Best of John Coltrane – John Coltrane (Review)". Allmusic. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  2. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 46. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  3. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "John Coltrane Biography from AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  4. ^ Garland, Phyl (January 1971), "Sounds", Ebony, Johnson Publishing Company, 26 (3), p. 25, ISSN 0012-9011
  5. ^ "The Best of John Coltrane – John Coltrane (Charts & Awards)". Allmusic. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  6. ^ "Best Selling Jazz LP's". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. February 27, 1971. p. 37.

External links[edit]