Available on livestream only throughout Valentine’s night and after 7 pm, Hermann’s Jazz Club Live presents a night of classy, all-love songs from one of the most romantic instrumental albums of all time: John Coltrane’s Ballads album.
As Horwitz from NPR aptly puts it, “We’re not talking about just ‘make out’ music here… this is ‘fall in love’ music.”
The original Ballads jazz album itself was released in 1963 by Impulse! Records. Although in 2008, it was a recipient of the Grammy Hall of Fame award, it has had a controversial past. But what’s love and great art without a bit of controversy?
According to some earlier critics of the album, Coltrane was accused of “selling out” due to the softer nature of the album. The album is definitely soft, but in a beautiful, mood-setting way, with delicate piano, crooning saxophone, soft bass and easy drums.
Coltrane once defended the album to jazz writer Frank Kofsky saying, “Impulse! was interested in having what they might call a balanced sort of thing—a diversified sort of catalog, and I find nothing wrong with this myself. [The] ballads that came out were definitely ones I felt at the time I chose them.”
The record has since been admired and adored by fans and critics alike.
“Ballads should be taken for what it is: a beautiful record, one that shows the ridiculous talents of not only Coltrane, but of Tyner as well,” The Jazz Record says in a review. “The music just washes over the listener with its restrained grace and beauty, and while it may not have the adventurousness that some listeners think ‘Trane should have had each and every time he recorded, I’d say it shows off a side of him that only makes us appreciate his more bold and daring albums even more.”
Picking this classic tribute that will appeal to jazz lovers globally was an apt choice for Hermann’s, as the show will need to reach a broad audience in order to serve its purpose as a special fundraiser. The show’s main focus is to raise money for Hermann’s Jazz Club, which is in financial distress due to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The club, now Canada’s longest running jazz club, wrote in its newsletter, “We urgently need your help to protect Hermann’s as a Canadian cultural asset and haven that nurtures and celebrates incredible local and national talent. With your generous support these last 20 months, you’ve helped us accomplish nothing short of a miracle.”
This show features Ryan Oliver on saxophone, Louis Rudner on bass, Hans Verhoeven on drums and Ashley Wey on piano.
Watch at home, cook a Valentine’s dinner for your special someone, light the candles, and Hermann’s will provide the music. Find out more at hermannsjazz.com.