Presented here in its entirety, the celebrated 1962 "Ballads" album was the last word in John Coltranes ballad playing and became an instant hit. One of the most revolutionary saxophonists in jazz history, Coltrane was also a superb ballad player, capable of creating a very personal and intimate sound. This album features the leader backed by the members of his classic quartet, with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.
As a bonus, five earlier ballad performances by Trane, most of them in a quartet format (an amazing duet with Kenny Burrell is also included), and closing with the saxophonists ultimate ballad composition, Naima.
01. Say It (Over And Over Again) 4:18
02. You Dont Know What Love Is 5:14
03. Too Young To Go Steady 4:22
04. All Or Nothing At All 3:37
05. I Wish I Knew 4:52
06. Whats New? 3:46
07. Its Easy To Remember 2:47
08. Nancy (With The Laughing Face) 3:11
09. Greensleeves 3:40
10. Evry Time We Say Goodbye 5:44*
11. You Leave Me Breathless 7:25*
12. Theme For Ernie 4:58*
13. I Want To Talk About You 10:56*
14. Violets For Your Furs 6:18*
15. Why Was I Born? 3:16*
16. Naima 4:21*
Total time: 78:50 min.
Tracks #1-9, from the album
"Ballads" (Impulse AS-32)
(*) Bonus tracks not on the original album
Personnel in tracks #1-9:
John Coltrane (tenor sax, soprano sax only on #9), McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums).
Recorded in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on November 13, 1962 [1-5]; on September 18, 1962 [6 & 8] & on December 21, 1961 [7 & 9]
Personnel on track #10:
John Coltrane (ss), McCoy Tyner (p), Steve Davis (b), Elvin Jones (d).
Recorded in New York, on October 26, 1960
Personnel on tracks #11-13:
John Coltrane (ts), Red Garland (p), Paul Chambers (b), Art Taylor (d).
Recorded in Hackensack, New Jersey, on August 23, 1957 [#11] & on February 7, 1958 [#12-13]
Personnel on track #14:
John Coltrane (ts), Red Garland (p), Paul Chambers (b), Albert Tootie Heath (d).
Recorded in Hackensack, NJ, on May 31, 1957
Personnel on track #15:
John Coltrane (ts), Kenny Burrell (g). [duet performance].
Recorded in Hackensack, NJ, on March 7, 1958
Personnel on track #16:
John Coltrane (ts), Wynton Kelly (p), Paul Chambers (b), Jimmy Cobb (d).
Recorded in New York, on December 2, 1959
Original album produced by Bob Thiele
Recording engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Cover design: Robert Flynn
Photography by Jim Marshall
24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"The most amazing aspect of the 1962 album was its lack of rehearsal. The players quickly scanned their music-store sheets and got down to it. Greatness often consists in the slightest but telling variation on what is already there."
Nigel Jarrett -Jazz Journal
"Throughout John Coltrane's discography there are a handful of decisive and controversial albums that split his listening camp into factions. Generally, these occur in his later-period works such as Om and Ascension, which push into some pretty heady blowing. As a contrast, Ballads is often criticized as too easy and as too much of a compromise between Coltrane and Impulse! (the two had just entered into the first year of label representation). Seen as an answer to critics who found his work complicated with too many notes and too thin a concept, Ballads has even been accused of being a record that Coltrane didn't want to make. These conspiracy theories (and there are more) really just get in the way of enjoying a perfectly fine album of Coltrane doing what he always did -- exploring new avenues and modes in an inexhaustible search for personal and artistic enlightenment.
With Ballads he looks into the warmer side of things, a path he would take with both Johnny Hartman (on John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman) and with Duke Ellington (on Duke Ellington and John Coltrane). Here he lays out for McCoy Tyner mostly, and the results positively shimmer at times. He's not aggressive, and he's not outwardly. Instead he's introspective and at times even predictable, but that is precisely Ballads' draw."
Sam Samuelson -All Music Guide