Jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson strikes a sentimental chord with this super fine 2001 release, inspired by tenor sax titan John Coltrane's infamous Ballads LP. The diva exhibits her near flawless phraseology and alluring vigor throughout these wonderfully executed pieces. Allyson also receives exemplary support from what some might consider an all-star band, featuring bassist John Patitucci; saxophonists Bob Berg, Steve Wilson, and James Carter; pianist/educator James Williams; and drummer Lewis Nash. All told, the musicians inject their distinct musical personas into these moving portraitures amid Allyson's trance-like renderings of pieces such as "You Don't Know What Love Is," "All or Nothing at All," and others. The singer's wordless incantation of "Naima" bespeaks poignant imagery as Patitucci and Nash generate a grooving samba beat atop Williams' shrewdly placed lower-register ostinato motifs and the saxophonists' breezy lines. Basically, Ballads is a very special occurrence, one that provides yet another mark of distinction for this extremely talented artiste. Highly recommended.
Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane Review
by Glenn Astarita