This is only, like, I don’t know, one of the best ballads that Coltrane ever did: in fact, I consider this version of “My One and Only Love” the definitive recording of the song. Just listen to Coltrane as he comes into the song; that shit gives me the fucking chills. And of course, how can I not mention Johnny Hartman’s voice, that rich, baritone voice. It is just inimitable. This is not even mentioning McCoy Tyner on piano; I mean, I can go on and on about this line up, but the best thing would be to simply listen.
Check out NPR’s 2002 story on this classic collaboration.
I think Coltrane’s ballad playing is often overlooked relative to his more spiritual and free-jazz works. But as Coltrane shows, again and again, that when he wants to, he is a ballad-player of the very first rate. And this album just shows that capability at its best. Is this “smooth jazz?” You damn right it is! But there’s Coltrane’s being smooth, and Kenny G’s being smooth: the difference is that Coltrane is God, while Kenny G sucks donkey balls. It really is that simple.
So here it is, from me to you, for your late-night listening pleasures.