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John Coltrane Quartet: Ballads [Limited Edition]

Album Reviews:

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..."

Uncut (3/03, p.117) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...This music sounds even fresher today than when it was recorded at the dawn of the '60s..."

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."

Album Notes

John Coltrane Quartet: John Coltrane (tenor saxophone); McCoy Tyner (piano); Jimmy Garrison, Reggie Workman (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey between December 21, 1961 and November 13, 1962.

This Deluxe Edition of BALLADS includes a bonus disc of previously unissued material.

Personnel includes: John Coltrane (soprano & tenor saxophone);

McCoy Tyner (piano); Jimmy Garrison (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).

Producer: Bob Thiele.

Reissue producers: Ken Druker, Bryan Koniarz.

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey between December 21, 1961 and November 13, 1962. Includes liner notes by Francis Davis and Rudy Van Gelder.

All tracks have been digitally remastered.

BALLADS (1962) finds John Coltrane's classic quartet (which includes bassist Jimmy Garrison, pianist McCoy Tyner, and drummer Elvin Jones) gathering force as a unit and turning their skills to a softer, warmer sound than is usually be found on the team's recordings from the time. Some critics accused Coltrane of capitulating to commercial pressures with this release, but that reaction overlooks the gorgeous performances on "You Don't Know What Love Is," "I Wish I Knew," and others. A beautiful album, and a great entry point for those who might otherwise find Coltrane's '60s work too abrasive.


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