John Coltrane: 'Ballads' "Falling in love music." That is how jazz commentator Murray Horwitz describes John Coltrane's sensual 1962 album, Ballads. The 2002 re-release of the record contains a bonus disc with previously unreleased tracks, including multiple versions of "Greensleeves."


John Coltrane: 'Ballads'

John Coltrane: 'Ballads'

  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
The cover of Ballads

Web Resources


MURRAY HORWITZ, American Film Institute: A.B. Spellman, I don't care how long you've been with a person, or married to a person. Somehow they always feel that you don't love them as profoundly as they love you or you should be loving them. And I think of this mostly as a male problem. Most guys have a problem expressing to women that their love is so deep, they could drown in it, even if that's how they feel. But then, most guys don't play the saxophone like John Coltrane.

A.B. SPELLMAN, National Endowment for the Arts: Especially on today's selection for the NPR Basic Jazz Record Library, Murray. It's called simply, Ballads, and it's got some of the most sensitive, heartfelt music that any lover ever sang on a horn.


HORWITZ: We're not talking about just "make out" music here. That's too good. This is "falling in love" music, and like the song says: "You can fall over and over again, and for the same person."

SPELLMAN: If you're lucky. Coltrane had recently been in the studio with Duke Ellington, and that may have affected his approach on this CD.

HORWITZ: How so?

SPELLMAN: Well, McCoy Tyner's accompaniment is more composed than it usually is, and in spots, it's positively Ellingtonian. And Elvin Jones' drums are way more restrained than we expect from him. And the cuts are shorter than you will find on any other Coltrane CD.


SPELLMAN: Fit music for a long silent snuggle with someone you've given it all up to, and we hope has given it all back to you.

HORWITZ: We can hope. The CD is John Coltrane. It's called Ballads. It's on the Impulse! label. And it's in the NPR Basic Jazz Record Library. The Basic Jazz Record Library is funded by the Wallace Reader's Digest Fund and by our member stations. For NPR Jazz, I'm Murray Horwitz.

SPELLMAN: And, I'm A.B. Spellman.