Ballads (Remastered) John Coltrane Quartet
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- 1Say It (Over And Over Again)04:14
- 2You Don't Know What Love Is05:12
- 3Too Young To Go Steady04:21
- 4All Or Nothing At All03:35
- 5I Wish I Knew04:51
- 6What's New03:44
- 7It's Easy To Remember02:46
- 8Nancy (With The Laughing Face)03:11
Info for Ballads (Remastered)
Ballads is the fifth album released on Impulse! Records by the John Coltrane Quartet. McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison join Trane on one of his most intimate, introspective sessions. Includes their gorgeous interpretations of All or Nothing at All; What's New; I Wish I Knew , and the rest of this 1962.
It was recorded in December 1961 and 1962, and released on the Impulse! label in 1962 as A-32 and later AS-32 (the 's' is for 'stereo'). In 1962 John Coltrane was under strong criticism from conservative reviewers who had labeled his unorthodox, extended performances as 'anti-jazz.' As an means to respond, Coltrane and his Quartet entered the studios to record this classic collection of both notable and obscure ballads.
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'. All the pieces were recorded in one take, except for 'All or Nothing at All'.
During the early '60s, the contentious critical reaction to John Coltrane's music got so over-the-top that some reactionaries branded his work with Eric Dolphy as 'anti-jazz.' Having already recorded the exploratory AFRICA/BRASS and LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD, Coltrane went along with producer Bob Thiele's suggestion that he do an album of BALLADS to silence nay-sayers once and for all. BALLADS, DUKE ELLINGTON & JOHN COLTRANE and JOHN COLTRANE AND JOHNNY HARTMAN for a triptych of 'traditional' recordings, italicizing the saxophonist's ability to swing in a classic vein, while underscoring his sensitivity as a ballad player. He even managed to impress the moldy fig who penned the original liner notes to BALLADS. From the gentle opening strains of 'Say It (Over And Over Again),' the saxophonist imparts all the tender yearning and romantic empathy of a mature, compassionate adult. Given his predilection for technical complexities, Coltrane avoids any hint of emotional grandstanding, allowing only for subtle melodic embellishments. On 'You Don't Know What Love Is' and 'What's New' he displays a glorious tone, achieving a remarkably human vocal timbre in the upper registers, indulging in more pronounced harmonic variations, as the Tyner-Garrison-Jones rhythm axis subtly shifts gears to accomodate these intricacies. Without straying far from the basic themes or giving in to cheap sentiment, the saxophonist sustains a gorgeous melodic focus throughout BALLADS, marking this recital as another John Coltrane masterpiece. PREVIEW :Q (10/95, p.137) - 4 Stars - Excellent - '...a hard, unfaltering attack and furiously intense, extended improvisations that bordered on free-jazz. BALLADS was a timely reminder of the tenor saxophonist's matchless lyricism and exquisite tone...'Down Beat (11/95, p.73) - 4 Stars - Very Good - '...BALLADS...has always been about the celebration of pitch and melody. The band...hadn't played any of the tunes prior, but its proficiency leaned toward perfection.'
John Coltrane, Tenor & Soprano Saxophone
McCoy Tyner, Piano
Jimmy Garrison, Bass
Elvin Jones, Drums
Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Disc One, track 7 and Disc Two, tracks 3–14 recorded on December 21, 1961.
Disc One, tracks 6 and 8 recorded on September 18, 1962.
Disc One, tracks 1–5, and Disc Two, tracks 1 and 2 recorded on November 13, 1962.
Disc Two, tracks 1–5 and 7–14 are previously unissued.
Original recordings produced by Bob Thiele.
Original recordings engineered by Rudy Van Gelder
Re-mastered in 96/24
Born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina, John Coltrane was always surrounded by music. His father played several instruments sparking Coltrane’s study of E-flat horn and clarinet. While in high school, Coltrane’s musical influences shifted to the likes of Lester Young and Johnny Hodges prompting him to switch to alto saxophone. He continued his musical training in Philadelphia at Granoff Studios and the Ornstein School of Music. He was called to military service during WWII, where he performed in the U.S. Navy Band in Hawaii.
After the war, Coltrane began playing tenor saxophone with the Eddie 'CleanHead' Vinson Band, and was later quoted as saying, 'A wider area of listening opened up for me. There were many things that people like Hawk, and Ben and Tab Smith were doing in the ‘40’s that I didn’t understand, but that I felt emotionally.' Prior to joining the Dizzy Gillespie band, Coltrane performed with Jimmy Heath where his passion for experimentation began to take shape. However, it was his work with the Miles Davis Quintet in 1958 that would lead to his own musical evolution. ' Miles music gave me plenty of freedom,' he once said. During that period, he became known for using the three-on-one chord approach, and what has been called the ‘sheets of sound,’ a method of playing multiple notes at one time.
By 1960 Coltrane had formed his own quartet which included pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison. Eventually adding players like Eric Dolphy, and Pharoah Sanders. The John Coltrane Quartet created some of the most innovative and expressive music in Jazz history including the hit albums: 'My Favorite Things,' 'Africa Brass,' ' Impressions,' ' Giant Steps,' and his monumental work 'A Love Supreme' which attests to the power, glory, love, and greatness of God. Coltrane felt we must all make a conscious effort to effect positive change in the world, and that his music was an instrument to create positive thought patterns in the minds of people.
In 1967, liver disease took Coltrane’s life leaving many to wonder what might have been. Yet decades after his departure his music can be heard in motion pictures, on television and radio. Recent film projects that have made references to Coltrane’s artistry in dialogue or musical compositions include, 'Mr. Holland’s Opus', 'The General’s Daughter', 'Malcolm X', 'Mo Better Blues', 'Jerry McGuire', 'White Night', 'The Last Graduation', 'Come Unto Thee', 'Eyes On The Prize II' and 'Four Little Girls'. Also, popular television series such as 'NYPD Blue', 'The Cosby Show', 'Day’s Of Our Lives', 'Crime Stories' and 'ER', have also relied on the beautiful melodies of this distinguished saxophonist.
In 1972, 'A Love Supreme' was certified gold by the RIAA for exceeding 500,000 units in Japan. This jazz classic and the classic album 'My Favorite Things' were certified gold in the United States in 2001.
In 1982, the RIAA posthumously awarded John Coltrane a Grammy Award of ' Best Jazz Solo Performance' for the work on his album, 'Bye Bye Blackbird'. In 1997 he received the organizations highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
On June 18, 1993 Mrs. Alice Coltrane received an invitation to The White House from former President and Mrs. Clinton, in appreciation of John Coltrane’s historical appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival.
In 1995, John Coltrane was honored by the United States Postal Service with a commemorative postage stamp. Issued as part of the musicians and composers series, this collectors item remains in circulation.
In 1999, Universal Studios and its recording division MCA Records recognized John Coltrane’s influence on cinema by naming a street on the Universal Studios lot in his honor.
In 2001, The NEA and the RIAA released 360 songs of the Century . Among them was John Coltrane’s 'My Favorite Things.' (Source: www.johncoltrane.com)
This album contains no booklet.