Ballads

Performers John Coltrane Quartet

Impulse! | April 23, 2002 | Compact Disc

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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 -- explore 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 and Johnny Hartman) and with Duke (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 extroverted. Instead, he's introspective and at times even predictable, but that is precisely the draw of Ballads. In 2002, Impulse! re-released both Ballads and Coltrane, each with a bonus disc of mostly unreleased tape. The bonus disc for Ballads contains no less than five versions of "Greensleeves" and seven versions of "It's Easy to Remember," plus two alternate versions of other album tracks. While far too much for the casual fan, the more adventurous Coltrane obsessive will appreciate sometimes slightly more aggressive and exploratory versions of the aforementioned tunes. Even then though, the repetitive nature of this situation doesn't really lend itself to repeated listens. ~ Sam Samuelson

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: April 23, 2002

Genre: Saxophone

Style: Jazz Instrument

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1962

Label Name: Impulse!

UPC: 731458954828

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– More About This Product –

Ballads

Performers John Coltrane Quartet
Guest Artist(s) Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, McCoy Tyner
Engineer Rudy Van Gelder

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: April 23, 2002

Genre: Saxophone

Style: Jazz Instrument

Number of Discs: 2

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Originally Released: 1962

Label Name: Impulse!

UPC: 731458954828


Title Track Time
0.DISC 1: --
1.Say It (Over And Over Again) --
2.You Don't Know What Love Is --
3.Too Young To Go Steady --
4.All Or Nothing At All --
5.I Wish I Knew --
6.What's New? --
7.It's Easy To Remember --
8.Nancy (With The Laughing Face) --
0.DISC 2: --
1.They Say It's Wonderful --
2.All Or Nothing At All --
3.Greensleeves --
4.Greensleeves --
5.Greensleeves --
6.Greensleeves - (45-rpm take) --
7.Greensleeves --
8.It's Easy To Remember --
9.It's Easy To Remember --
10.It's Easy To Remember --
11.It's Easy To Remember --
12.It's Easy To Remember --
13.It's Easy To Remember --
14.It's Easy To Remember --

Editorial Notes

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 -- explore 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 and Johnny Hartman) and with Duke (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 extroverted. Instead, he's introspective and at times even predictable, but that is precisely the draw of Ballads. In 2002, Impulse! re-released both Ballads and Coltrane, each with a bonus disc of mostly unreleased tape. The bonus disc for Ballads contains no less than five versions of "Greensleeves" and seven versions of "It's Easy to Remember," plus two alternate versions of other album tracks. While far too much for the casual fan, the more adventurous Coltrane obsessive will appreciate sometimes slightly more aggressive and exploratory versions of the aforementioned tunes. Even then though, the repetitive nature of this situation doesn't really lend itself to repeated listens. ~ Sam Samuelson
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