Blue Train (album)

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Blue Train
Coltrane leans back with a reed in his mouth in a deep blue-on-black photo. The words "BLUE TRAIN" are written above his head in white followed by "john coltrane" in orange.
Studio album by John Coltrane
Released 1957
Recorded September 15, 1957
Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack
Genre Hard bop[1]
Length 42:50
Label Blue Note Records
BLP 1577
Producer Alfred Lion
John Coltrane chronology
Blue Train
John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars [2]

Blue Train is the second studio album by John Coltrane, released in 1957 on Blue Note Records, catalogue BLP 1577. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, it is Coltrane's second solo album, the only one he recorded for Blue Note as a leader, and the only one he conceived personally for the label. It has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.[3]


The album was recorded in the midst of Coltrane's residency at the Five Spot as a member of the Thelonious Monk quartet. The personnel include Coltrane's once and future Miles Davis bandmates, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums, both of whom had played on pianist Kenny Drew's trio album on Riverside Records the year before. Both trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller were up-and-coming jazz musicians, and both would be members of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, although not together.

All of the compositions were written by Coltrane, with the exception of the standard "I'm Old Fashioned." The title track is a long, rhythmically variegated blues with a sentimental minor theme that gradually shifts to major during Coltrane's first chorus. "Locomotion" is also a blues riff tune, in forty-four-bar form.[4] During a 1960 interview, Coltrane described Blue Train as his favorite album of his own up to that point.[5]


John Coltrane's next major album, 1960's Giant Steps, would break new melodic and harmonic ground in jazz, whereas Blue Train adheres to the hard bop style of the era. Two of its songs — "Moment's Notice" and "Lazy Bird" — demonstrate Coltrane's first recorded use of Coltrane changes, which he would later expand upon on Giant Steps. Musicologist Lewis Porter has also demonstrated a harmonic relationship between Coltrane's "Lazy Bird" and Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird".[6]

In 1997, The Ultimate Blue Train was released, adding two alternate takes and enhanced content, and in 1999 a 24bit 192kHz DVD-Audio version was issued. In 2003, both a Super Audio Compact Disc version was released, as well as a remastered compact disc as part of Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder series.

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Blue Train"   John Coltrane 10:43
2. "Moment's Notice"   John Coltrane 9:10

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Locomotion"   John Coltrane 7:14
2. "I'm Old Fashioned"   Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern 7:58
3. "Lazy Bird"   John Coltrane 7:00

1997 bonus tracks[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Blue Train" (alternate take) John Coltrane 9:58
7. "Lazy Bird" (alternate take) John Coltrane 7:12




External links[edit]