Blue Train (album)
|Studio album by|
|Recorded||September 15, 1957|
|Studio||Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack|
|John Coltrane chronology|
|The Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Penguin Guide to Jazz|||
|The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide|||
Blue Train is a studio album by John Coltrane, released in January 1958 on Blue Note Records, catalogue BLP 1577. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, it is the only Blue Note recording by Coltrane as session leader. It has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.
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 Miles Davis bandmates, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums, both of whom had worked before with pianist Kenny Drew. Both trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller were up-and-coming jazz musicians, and both were members of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in due course. Unlike his previous label, Blue Note paid the musicians to rehearse the music for a couple of days before the recording session.
All of the compositions were written by Coltrane, with the exception of the standard "I'm Old Fashioned". Though at this point his compositions used conventional diatonic harmonies, they were set in unconventional ways. The title track is a blues with a quasi-minor (Eb7#9) theme. "Locomotion" is also a blues riff tune, in forty-four-bar form. "Lazy Bird" is in part a transposition into the key of "G" of the Tadd Dameron composition "Lady Bird".
Coltrane's playing exhibits the move toward what would become his signature style. His solos are more harmonic or "vertical" and lines arpeggiated. His timing was often apart from or over the beat, rather than playing on or behind it. During a 1960 interview, Coltrane described Blue Train as his favorite album of his own up to that point.
Michael Cuscuna, the reissue producer at Blue Note had this to say from Joe Vella's podcast "Traneumentary": "We’re listening to Blue Train, which to me is one of the most beautiful pieces on one of the most beautiful records that Coltrane recorded in the fifties. It’s his first real mature statement and he wrote all but one of the tunes on this album which was very rare in the fifties and each one is a gem, particularly the title tune Blue Train. And while it’s kind of easy to play the blues, this has a suspended and haunting kind of quality to it."
John Coltrane's next major album, Giant Steps, recorded in 1959, would break new melodic and harmonic ground in jazz, whereas Blue Train adheres to the hard bop style of the era. Musicologist Lewis Porter has also demonstrated a harmonic relationship between Coltrane's "Lazy Bird" and Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird".
In 1997, The Ultimate Blue Train was released, adding two alternate takes and enhanced content, and in 1999 a 24bit 192 kHz 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.
In 2015, Blue Note/Universal released a Blu-Ray Audio edition of the album with four bonus tracks, one of which is a previously unreleased take of "Lazy Bird".
All tracks written by John Coltrane except where noted.
|2.||"I'm Old Fashioned"||Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern||7:58|
- Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–5 on CD reissues.
|6.||"Blue Train" (alternate take)||9:58|
|7.||"Lazy Bird" (alternate take)||7:12|
|4.||"I'm Old Fashioned"||Mercer, Kern||7:58|
|6.||"Blue Train" (Alternate Take 1)||7:12|
|7.||"Blue Train" (Alternate Take 2)||9:58|
|8.||"Lazy Bird" (Alternate Take)||7:12|
- John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
- Lee Morgan – trumpet
- Curtis Fuller – trombone
- Kenny Drew – piano
- Paul Chambers – bass
- Philly Joe Jones – drums
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
- DeVito, Chris; Fujioka, Yasuhiro; Schmaler, Wolf; Wild, David (2013). Porter, Lewis (ed.). The John Coltrane Reference. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. p. 484. ISBN 9780415634632. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "January Album Releases" (PDF). The Cash Box. New York: The Cash Box Publishing Co. 18 January 1958. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
- Cook 2004, p. 103.
- Blue Train at AllMusic
- Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
- Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Jazz (1940s-50s)". tomhull.com. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
- Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-14-103401-0.
- Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 46. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
- RIAA Gold and Platinum Search retrieved August 2, 2011 Archived June 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Nisenson, Eric (1993). Ascension: John Coltrane and his Quest. St. Martin's Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0312098384.
- Brown, Leonard (2010). John Coltrane and Black America's Quest for Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-19-971650-0.
- Jazz Discography on-line
- Porter 1999, p. 128.
- Porter 1999, p. 157.
- "Traneumentary Podcast - Blue Train". Mosaic Records - Home for Jazz fans!. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
- Porter 1999, pp. 128–131.
- Larkin, Colin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 135. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
- "Canadian album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train". Music Canada.
- "Italian album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 10 December 2018. Select "2015" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Blue Train" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
- "British album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train". British Phonographic Industry.
- "American album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train". Recording Industry Association of America.
- Cook, Richard (May 1, 2004). Blue Note Records: The Biography. Justin, Charles & Co. ISBN 1-932112-27-8.
- Porter, Lewis (1999). John Coltrane: His Life and Music. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-10161-7.