Although never formally signed, an oral agreement between John Coltrane and Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion was indeed honored on Blue Train -- Coltrane's only collection of sides as a principal artist for the venerable label. The disc is packed solid with sonic evidence of Coltrane's innate leadership abilities. He not only addresses the tunes at hand, but also simultaneously reinvents himself as a multifaceted interpreter of both hard bop as well as sensitive balladry -- touching upon all forms in between. The personnel on Blue Train is arguably as impressive as what they're playing. Joining Coltrane (tenor sax) are Lee Morgan (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Kenny Drew (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). The triple horn arrangements incorporate an additional sonic density that remains a trademark unique to both this band and album. Of particular note is Fuller's even-toned trombone, which bops throughout the title track as well as the frenetic "Moments Notice." Other solos include Paul Chambers' subtly understated riffs on "Blue Train" as well as the high energy and impact from contributions by Lee Morgan and Kenny Drew during "Locomotion." The track likewise features some brief but vital contributions from Philly Joe Jones -- whose efforts throughout the record stand among his personal best. Of the five sides that comprise the original Blue Train, the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer ballad "I'm Old Fashioned" is the only standard; in terms of unadulterated sentiment, this version is arguably untouchable. Fuller's rich tones and Drew's tastefully executed solos cleanly wrap around Jones' steadily languid rhythms. Without reservation, Blue Train can easily be considered in and among the most important and influential entries not only of John Coltrane's career, but of the entire genre of jazz music as well. [In 2003, an expanded edition of Blue Train was released, boasting marginally better sound than previous issues, plus the alternate takes issued on the 1997 version. It failed, however, to include another feature of the 1997 Ultimate Blue Train release, "At Least Listen," an interactive CD-ROM program featuring video clips and interview clips with Fuller circa 1995, as well as many brilliant photographs taken during the recording sessions.]
|Label:||Blue Note Records|
Performance CreditsJohn Coltrane Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
Kenny Drew Piano
Curtis Fuller Trombone
Philly Joe Jones Drums
Lee Morgan Trumpet
Paul Chambers Bass
Technical CreditsJerome Kern Composer
Micaela Boland Art Direction
John Coltrane Composer
Michael Cuscuna Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Rudy Van Gelder Engineer
Alfred Lion Producer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Francis Wolff Cover Photo
Bob Blumenthal Liner Notes
Reid Miles Cover Design
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Blue Train based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
This rating is not in any way reflective of the album content. "Blue Train" is utterly brilliant and a must have for any jazz fan. My rating is for the warped, damn-near unplayable record that BN shipped to me. Were it not for the fact that I already opened it and the cost of properly packing it to ship it back for a refund/exchange, I'd return it. Shame on BN for this one.
This album is, without a doubt, a monument of hard bop. However, I must comment on the last review posted here. "A listener" states that "Before Kind of Blue, there was Blue Train," and implies that Blue Train inspired Kind of Blue. I beg to differ on this subject. Any amount of research will reveal that the two albums are quite conflicting. Kind of Blue is hard bop, a style in which improvisation is based mainly on chords and chord changes. Kind of Blue is modal jazz, a style that is based on modes, with very little to no changes. Miles Davis popularized this style in order to "bring back the melody to jazz." While Davis was a talented bop trumpeter, it is obvious that he also saw importance at the other end of the spectrum. In making Kind of Blue, Miles was trying to show people the importance of symple melody in jazz improvisation, and that a multitude of chord changes weren't necessary. Coltrane's Blue Train, on the other hand, was based soley on a multitude of chord changes, following in the hard bop style. The albums are as different as day and night, and it can be said the past reviewer has obviously not done his homework on jazz styles. Always consider the source.
Ever since I listened to this album for the first time a year ago, I cannot help but wonder if Mile Davis was inspired in some way by John Coltrane and his album ''Blue Train'' to make ''Kind of Blue''. The music her is, simply put, timeless. My favorite, of course, is the title track. They way the song opens up is remarkalbe: the horns themselves seem to know exactly what they are doing and what their place is as the piano chimes in the background. Also, ''Lazy bird''(a tribute to Charlie Parker) is one of the best jazz songs ever made. And ''Moment's Notice'' and ''I'm Old Fashioned'' are just moments of pure genius for Coltrane. When listening to this album and comparing it to ''Kind of Blue''(and I know you will), just keep these two ideas in mind: how similar the albums sound to one another and that ''Blue Train'' was recorded in 1957, two years before ''Kind Of Blue''.