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New CD Features Some of John Coltrane's Most Popular Ballads - 2001-03-21

This year marks the 75th birthday of the late jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Only 40 years old when he died in 1967, "Trane" was one of the era's most innovative players. His music incorporated swing, spiritual, be-bop and blues. While he was known for injecting power and energy into his hard-edged bop solos, Coltrane often displayed a softer, quieter side. A new CD called "Coltrane For Lovers," features some of Trane's most popular ballads.

Many would say that Coltrane was at his best soloing on classics like "My One And Only Love." Recorded in 1963, the track features Trane's famed quartet: pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison.

The eleven tracks on "Coltrane For Lovers" come from seven different recording sessions between 1961 and 1963. Some originally appeared on the critically-acclaimed albums "Impressions," "Ballads" and "Coltrane."

Trane started out on alto sax but switched to tenor when he joined Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's band in 1947. Stints with Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges and Miles Davis led to Trane's debut as a leader in 1960. One of his first recording dates with his own quartet featured the Rodgers and Hart classic "It's Easy To Remember" with John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Reggie Workman replacing Jimmy Garrison on bass.

Where were you in '62? It was a very good year for John Coltrane who teamed up with Duke Ellington on one of Duke's most famous compositions. Trane and Duke perform "In A Sentimental Mood" from "Coltrane For Lovers." It originally appeared on the album "Duke Ellington and John Coltrane."

Trane also turns to the music of Irving Berlin, Billy Strayhorn, Sammy Cahn and Mal Waldron, with one track spotlighting John Coltrane the composer. John Coltrane's "After The Rain," from his 1963 album "Impressions" appears on this new CD.

After his so-called "classic quartet" years, Trane explored avante-garde jazz. In fact, his 1964 album "A Love Supreme" marked the end of what critics call his "most significant period." He abandoned his melodies and in the years leading up to his death explored lengthy, free-form improvisations.