Verve/UMe Continues Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series Acoustic Sounds with Definitive Audiophile Grade Vinyl Pressings Of John Coltrane’s Classic Albums Ballads and A Love Supreme
LPs Mastered from Original Analog Tapes and Presented in High Quality Packaging Set for October 9
John Coltrane takes the spotlight with two of his most brilliant, popular and culturally significant albums: the standards-teeming Ballads (1963) and the four-part spiritual suite, A Love Supreme (1965), in the second edition of Verve/UMe’s audiophile Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series, which seeks to offer definitive audiophile grade versions of some of the most historic and best jazz records ever recorded. Both albums, which will be available on October 9, were produced by Bob Thiele and recorded for Impulse! at the Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey. The sessions feature the iconic tenor saxophonist with his classic quartet, comprising McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. The LPs are presented in stereo.
Pre-order Ballads: Verve.lnk.to/BalladsPR
Pre-order A Love Supreme: Verve.lnk.to/ALoveSupremePR
Acoustic Sounds launches August 28 with its inaugural releases – the sensational collaborations, Stan Getz and João Gilberto’s landmark Getz/Gilberto (1964) and the remarkable Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson (1959). Utilizing the skills of the top mastering engineers and the unsurpassed production craft of Quality Record Pressings, all titles will be mastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and packaged by Stoughton Printing Co. in high-quality tip-on gatefold jackets. The releases are being supervised by Chad Kassem, CEO of Acoustic Sounds, the world’s largest source for audiophile recordings.
Each batch of releases will highlight a different storied label spanning Verve/UMe’s extraordinarily rich archive. To begin with, the series will largely focus on some of the most popular albums from the ‘50s and ‘60s in their unmatched catalog. November’s releases will include two of Nina Simone’s legendary Philips albums, I Put A Spell On You (1965) and Pastel Blues (1965), followed by two from the EmArcy Records vault: Sarah Vaughan’s self-titled 1955 album, the vocal great’s sole collaboration with influential trumpeter Clifford Brown, who is also represented alongside pioneering drummer Max Roach on the hard bop classic, Study In Brown (1955). The December titles will spotlight Decca Records with the iconic Peggy Lee’s first 12-inch album, Black Coffee (1956), and composer George Russell’s important New York, N.Y. (1959) performed by an all-star orchestra that includes Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Art Farmer and Milt Hinton, among others. All titles and release dates are listed below with additional titles to be announced as the series progresses.
“These Impulse! albums from John Coltrane continue to inspire musicians and fans around the world and stand as some of the most iconic, brilliant and landmark contributions ever made to recorded music,” said Bruce Resnikoff, President & CEO of UMe. “With these albums, Impulse! and UMe have one of the richest jazz catalogs ever recorded, and our goal is to give vinyl and jazz lovers the best possible versions of classic albums. The Acoustic Sounds series is designed to appeal to today’s most discriminating fans, looking for the very finest in both artistic content and audio quality.”
“The opportunity to have these two iconic records given the signature Acoustic Sounds treatment is beyond exciting,” said Jamie Krents, EVP of Verve/Impulse! “We can’t wait for existing and new Coltrane fans to hear these albums like never before.”
“John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Ballads belong in every vinyl fan’s collection,” said Chad Kassem, CEO of Acoustic Sounds. “Working with UMe and Impulse!, we were granted access to Coltrane’s original master tapes to create what we believe are the highest-quality reissues of these iconic jazz albums. Each step in our production process – from title selection to mastering, pressing and packaging – is designed to meet the highest standards, and we want everyone who hears these albums to feel the love and hard work we put into everything we do.”
While best-known as both a powerhouse saxophonist and exemplary collaborator on such classic albums as Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Coltrane decided to play his horn hard in the service of sublime lyricism during two recording sessions in 1961 and 1962. Released by Impulse! in 1963, Ballads is a masterwork of Coltrane and company playing eight melodies straight to the marrow of emotion and reflection. With the exception of “It’s Easy to Remember” by Richard Rodgers, the quartet had never before played the standards, beginning with “Say It (Over and Over Again)” by Frank Loesser and Jimmy McHugh and ending with “Nancy (With the Laughing Face)” by Jimmy Van Heusen. Coltrane collected the tunes from a music store, discussed the charts with the band to make changes, rehearsed shortly and then recorded most in first takes (the exception being “All or Nothing At All” that the leader wanted to have a rhythmically complex Arabic feel). Ballads is a collection of beauty that received the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame award in 2008.
Arguably Coltrane’s mountain top of creativity, A Love Supreme has been heralded as a perfect album expressing the leader’s deep spirituality. It’s a four-part suite inspired by a conversion experience he had in 1957. He wrote in the liner notes to listeners: “All praise be to God to whom all praise is due.” The album becomes a compelling journey that ultimately acknowledges that the music comes from a higher power. Garrison anchors the piece with his four-note bass motif, and Jones welcomes the listener with a resounding gong while Coltrane speaks with elegant longing and exalted authority on his tenor sax throughout. With the title repeatedly chanted, A Love Supreme became a heartfelt prayer and indelible hymn that went on to sell more than a half million copies by the end of the ’60s. The manuscript of the album became a part of the National Museum of American History’s “Treasures of American History” at the Smithsonian Institution and was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry. A legendary jazz album, Coltrane’s musical and spiritual thank you to God has been embraced by the rock world, from Carlos Santana to U2, and is widely considered one of the greatest albums ever recorded.
Acoustic Sounds Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series:
August 28 / Verve Records
- Stan Getz and João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto (1964)
- Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson – Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson (1959)
October 9 / Impulse! Records
- John Coltrane – Ballads (1963)
- John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1965)
November 6 / Philips Records
- Nina Simone – I Put A Spell On You (1965)
- Nina Simone – Pastel Blues (1965)
November 20 / EmArcy Records
- Sarah Vaughan – Sarah Vaughan (with Clifford Brown) (1955)
- Clifford Brown and Max Roach – Study In Brown (1955)
December 11 / Decca Records
- Peggy Lee – Black Coffee (1956)
- George Russell – New York, N.Y. (1959)