Once every dozen years of blogging, I like to write about ballads— slow tunes you play on jazz gigs. They do exist. Possibly I don't write about them much because I learned to play them completely on the job, through playing with others; I don't have any kind of cohesive drumming theory about handling them.
Ballads are kind of complicated with regards to tempo, time and feel. Sometimes they'll have a persistent triplet-based swing feel, or they'll pull strongly towards a double time feel, or be played semi rubato. The bassist may play whole notes, play in 2, or walk, embellishing with triplets, straight 8ths, or 16th notes, or swing 8ths in double time. Often all of the above will happen in the course of the tune, or all at once.
Almost always someone calls the tune and counts it off and you play whatever. I've only ever had one band leader make a distinction between ballad feels when calling tunes— he would say walking ballad when he wanted the bass to play in 4 the whole time, or 12/8 ballad when he wanted a triplet-based swing feel all the way through, no double time— that didn't mean he wanted me to play triplets the whole time, like we were playing Unchained Melody. Most often in modern playing, the drummer has a lot of freedom to play texturally, and not just hold down the time.
Getting the tempos off the records is more complicated than normal, because tempos often tend to not be 100% locked down for the whole duration of the tune. So consider these to be approximate. There are some more notes at the end.
45 - Body And Soul - Freddie Hubbard / Here To Stay
47 - Body And Soul - Stan Getz / Billy High Street Samba
49 - Body And Soul - Sarah Vaughn / The Essential
49 - Lonely Woman - Pat Metheny / Rejoicing
49 - I Fall In Love To Easily - Miles Davis / Seven Steps To Heaven
50 - I Loves You Porgy - Bill Evans / Waltz For Debby
51 - Body And Soul - Pee Wee Russel / College Concert
52 - Infant Eyes - Wayne Shorter / Speak No Evil
55 - Blue In Green - Miles Davis / Kind Of Blue
55 - Spring Is Here - Bill Evans / Portrait In Jazz
56 - Flamenco Sketches - Miles Davis / Kind Of Blue
56 - Lush Life - John Coltrane / & Johnny Hartman
56 - Virgo - Wayne Shorter / Night Dreamer
56 - Body And Soul - Tony Williams / Young At Heart
57 - I Thought About You - Miles Davis / Someday My Prince Will Come
57 - It Never Entered My Mind - Miles Davis / Vol. 1
57 - It Never Entered My Mind - Miles Davis / Workin'
57 - The Peacocks - Stan Getz / The Peacocks
59 - Stella By Starlight - Miles Davis / My Funny Valentine
60 - Naima - John Coltrane / Giant Steps
60 - You Are Too Beautiful - John Coltrane / & Johnny Hartman
61 - Dedicated To You - John Coltrane / & Johnny Hartman
61 - I Wish I Knew - John Coltrane / Ballads
62 - Body And Soul - Don Cherry / Art Deco
62 - I Remember You - Stanley Turrentine & Milt Jackson / Cherry
62 - My Funny Valentine - Miles Davis / My Funny Valentine
62 - Old Folks - Pat Metheny / Question & Answer
63 - My One And Only Love - John Coltrane / & Johnny Hartman
63 - Too Young To Go Steady - John Coltrane / Ballads
64 - How Deep Is The Ocean - Miles Davis / Vol. 1
64 - When I Fall In Love - Miles Davis / Steamin'
65 - Lover Man - Charlie Parker / Complete Dial Masters
65 - Nancy (With The Laughing Face) - Cannonball Adderley / Know What I Mean?
66 - Body And Soul - Sonny Stitt / New York Jazz
66 - It's Easy To Remember - John Coltrane / Ballads
66 - There Is No Greater Love - Miles Davis / The New Quintet
67 - Blue In Grean - Bill Evans / Portrait In Jazz
67 - Dancing In The Dark - Cannonball Adderly - Somethin' Else
67 - Say It (Over And Over Again) - John Coltrane / Ballads
68 - Body And Soul - Buddy Rich / Keep The Customer Satisfied
68 - Body And Soul - Frank Sinatra / Beautiful Ballads And Love Songs
68 - Nancy (With The Laughing Face) - John Coltrane / Ballads
69 - Out Of Nowhere - Charlie Parker / Complete Dial Masters
70 - Body And Soul - Stan Getz / Body And Soul
72 - Body And Soul - John Coltrane / Coltrane's Sound
72 - Soul Eyes - John Coltrane / Coltrane
74 - Crazy He Calls Me - Ahmad Jamal / The Piano Scene
76 - Body And Soul - Stan Kenton / Artistry In Rhythm
76 - Central Park West - John Coltrane / Coltrane's Sound
77 - Body And Soul - Duke Ellington / Centennial
78 - What's New - Ahmad Jamal / Legendary Trio
78 - Body And Soul - Sarah Vaughan / Complete Recordings With Clifford Brown
78 - Embraceable You - Charlie Parker / Complete Dial Masters
79 - Body And Soul - Thelonious Monk / Monk's Dream
80 - Moonlight In Vermont - Ahmad Jamal / Legendary Trio
82 - Fall - Miles Davis / Nefertiti
85 - Body And Soul - Lester Young / Masters Of Jazz
89 - Come Rain Or Come Shine - Bill Evans / Portrait In Jazz
92 - Body And Soul - Coleman Hawkins / Jazz Masters
110 - Body And Soul - Lee Konitz / Peacemeal
I grabbed quite a few versions of Body And Soul— it's an extremely popular ballad, but it also seems to have the double time feel built into it— even when you're playing the slow tempo, you suggest the double time, that's how you play it. So I was curious if artists tended to gravitate to a certain tempo range when playing it— obviously, they don't.
The Charlie Parker recordings mostly are brighter tempos, and played in 4, with a walking bass.
Most of these are popular tunes and recordings, and this is a good listening assignment for anyone wanting get their ballad playing together. The list seems to want some further analysis, so maybe I'll post about that later.