Friday, November 27, 2009

John Coltrane - Blue Train (1957) (320)

I've been on a John Coltrane binge recently, so I'll be uploading a few of his recordings in the near future. My collection focuses more on his later, Impulse! years, but I decided to post Blue Train first. This album features some of Trane's best hard bop playing. The title track has become a classic blues number: Coltrane and trombonist Curtis Fuller playing the recognizable melody before Lee Morgan comes in with the harmony. When the rhythm section joins, they start swinging, and Trane soars over the changes with his opening solo. Coltrane gets help from some phenomenal players on this session: Lee Morgan burns on the fast bop numbers, showing off his range and incredible chops. And Curtis Fuller kills it, too, proving that jazz trombone should really be more commonplace. The trombone harmonies add a fullness to the sound, and Fuller can keep up with the fast changes as well. Fuller also plays a smooth solo on the ballad "I'm Old Fashioned" (the only piece on the album that Coltrane did not compose). It's interesting to compare this recording to the later Coltrane, where he works outside the melodic rules that he displays mastery of on Blue Train. This version has two extra tracks, alternate versions of "Blue Train" and "Lazy Bird".


1. Blue Train
2. Moment's Notice
3. Locomotion
4. I'm Old Fashioned
5. Lazy Bird
6. Blue Train (Alternate Take)
7. Lazy Bird (Alternate Take)


John Coltrane, tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan, trumpet
Curtis Fuller, trombone
Kenny Drew, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums

Produced by Alfred Lion
Recorded on September 15, 1957 at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey
Originally recorded and remastered in 2003 by Rudy Van Gelder
All transfers from the analog tapes to digital were made at 24-bit resolution
Reissue produced by Michael Cuscuna
Cover photograph: Francis Wolff
Cover design: Reid Miles
Liner photographs from the actual session by Francis Wolff © Mosaic Images

#1-5 originally issued as BST 81577

Blue Note Records
7243 4 95326 2 5



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