Artist: John Coltrane
Title: Blue Train
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records/Universal Music Enterprises
Release Date: 1957 (BST 81577/BLP 1577)/2015
Recorded: September 15, 1957 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Mastered by Alan Yashida, alternate takes Mastered by Robert Vosgien at Capitol Mastering.
Quality: Blu-ray Audio
Size: 14 GB
Video: MPEG-4 AVC 950 kbps / 1080i / 29,970 fps / 16:9 / High Profile 4.1
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 / 192 kHz / 6838 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Audio: English LPCM 2.0 / 192 kHz / 9216 kbps / 24-bit
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 / 192 kHz / 6332 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
John Coltrane only recorded one album as a leader for Blue Note, but it was the turning point of his career and one of his greatest hours. 31 at the time of 1957’s Blue Train, Coltrane had been largely unknown just two years earlier. In 1955 he began a very important two-year stint with Miles Davis that gave him visibility and found him growing rapidly as an improviser.
By 1957 when he left Davis and became a member of the Thelonious Monk Quartet for a few historic months, Coltrane had his own innovative voice. He was at the top of the field along with Sonny Rollins and was considered a young giant. Coltrane’s style, which often featured him, grouping together an explosive series of notes that were called sheets of sound, was unprecedented and years ahead of his contemporaries.
Blue Train stands as proof of both Trane’s originality and his dazzling style. Heading an all-star hard bop sextet that included the 19-year old Lee Morgan (the brightest new trumpeter in jazz) and trombonist Curtis Fuller, Coltrane took an astounding solo on “Blue Train” (one in which every note in his long improvisation fits perfectly) and introduced what was arguably his greatest composition, “Moment’s Notice.”
All five performances on Blue Train (including a definitive rendition of “I’m Old Fashioned”) are filled with memorable and classic moments. While Coltrane only worked for Alfred Lion on this one occasion, this very stirring set is full of timeless magic. After Blue Train was recorded, there was never again any doubt that John Coltrane was a giant!
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. -Lindsay Planer
Two years ago, we decided to begin remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalog in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes… the new remasters are really cool! -Don Was, President, Blue Note Records
1. Blue Train
2. Moment’s Notice
4. I’m Old Fashioned
5. Lazy Bird
6. Blue Train (Take 7)
7. Blue Train (Take 8)
8. Lazy Bird (Take 1)
9. Lazy Bird (Take 2)
John Coltrane, tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan, trumpet
Curtis Fuller, trombone
Kenny Drew, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums
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