John Coltrane Quartet – Ballads (Full Album)

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John Coltrane Quartet – Ballads (1962).

Ballads is a jazz album by John Coltrane. It was recorded in December 1961 and 1962, and released on the Impulse! label in 1963 as A-32 (mono) and later AS-32 (stereo). Critic Gene Lees stated that the quartet had never played the tunes before. “They arrived with music-store sheet music of the songs” and just before the recordings, they “would discuss each tune, write out copies of the changes they’d use, semi-rehearse for a half hour and then do it”. Each piece was recorded in one take, except for “All or Nothing at All”. In 2008, the album was a recipient of the Grammy Hall of Fame award (Wikipedia).

AllMusic Review by Sam Samuelson:
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 (

Track listing:

A1 Say It (Over And Over Again) 0:00
A2 You Don’t Know What Love Is 4:17
A3 Too Young To Go Steady 9:31
A4 All Or Nothing At All 13:54
B1 I Wish I Knew 17:31
B2 What’s New 22:25
B3 It’s Easy To Remember 26:12
B4 Nancy (With The Laughing Face) 29:00

John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
McCoy Tyner – piano
Jimmy Garrison (#1-6, 8), Reggie Workman (#7) – bass
Elvin Jones – drums

Recorded: December 21, 1961; September 18 and November 13, 1962
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey


Label: Impulse!