"Gentle" is a relative term, for while this collection of material is mostly pitched at a slower set of tempos and a more lyrical frame of mind, John Coltrane was no less passionate in a ballad as he was in a roaring frenzy.
Issued on two LPs, The Gentle Side draws nine tracks from the legacy of the classic Coltrane quartet (with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones), adding a pair of tracks each from his collaborations with Duke Ellington and Johnny Hartman.
You can say all you want about how a collection like this disregards the musical flow of the original albums -- which is true -- and still be helplessly caught up in the staggering emotional power of this man's playing.
Even when heard in this context, performances like "After the Rain" and "Welcome" remain breathtaking in their spiritual beauty, and the combination of Coltrane's eloquence and Hartman's warm, masculine baritone can still break your heart with one of their best interpretations of "My One and Only Love." Above all, if you know anyone who has resisted Coltrane because of the fearsome reputation of his more agitated music, lay this LP on them.