John Coltrane
Blue Train


5.0
classic

Review

by fendercustomstrat USER (5 Reviews)
August 1st, 2005 | 45 replies


Release Date: 1957 | Tracklist


John Coltrane Sextet:

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

"Blue Train", released in 1957, was John Coltrane's first attempt on making it as the leader and composer of his own group. He had started out working with Dizzy Gillespie in big bands and smaller groups on alto saxophone, the first sax that he learned how to play. He also played clarinet among other instruments. His first "big break" was when he asked to join Miles Davis' "first quintet". His work on Davis' albums "Milestones", "'Round About Midnight", and, most famously, "Kind of Blue" showed that he was becoming a virtuoso on his tenor sax and creating his signature playing style that was later called "sheets of sound" by jazz critic Ira Gitler. This first outing with Coltrane as a frontman included Miles' bassist and occasional drummer. This album is also unique in that a trombone is used, a rarity in jazz of this nature. Here is the track-by-track review.

1) Blue Train - Let's face it, everyone who knows at least a little bit about jazz knows the opening to this song. It's an established classic. Every instrument gets it moment to shine. Lee Morgan's trumpet in particular is spectacular in addition to 'Trane's solo. He undeniably put together a group of great musicians playing great material. 5/5

2) Moment's Notice - This song has a lot of great interplay between all of the instruments. You can just tell from listening that they are completely complementing each other. Coltrane's intro shows off his incredible tone and his solo shows his ability to master his instrument. The name of the song comes from the situation in which it was recorded. The story was that Coltrane wrote and recorded this song in a matter of an hour. Despite the lack of ease of playing up-tempo jazz pieces on trombone, Curtis Fuller covers the entire range of his horn and shows that the trombone is just as versatile and can groove just as hard as any other horn. Morgan's trumpet is also dominant again and Jones always keeps perfect time like a metronome while adding tasteful phrases to add color to the songs. Chambers also shows his soloing skills with a bowed bass solo. Kenny Drew's piano isn't shabby either. : ) 5/5

3) Locomotion - This fast-paced blues-based tune comes in with the thunder of Philly Joe's drums and leads to the full band stating the main theme. Coltrane also lends some cool phrases at the V chord of the I-IV-V progression. This fast-paced tune is what Coltrane plays best on, starting out with the sometimes 300 or 400 beat per minute bebop compositions of Dizzy Gillespie. His solo on this song is a slower, more melodic version of his earth-shattering song "Countdown" from "Giant Steps". Everyone shines on this track. 5/5

4) I'm Old Fashioned - This is the only cover track from Coltrane's solo debut album. This ballad was composed by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, but Coltrane proves that he can play beautifully on ballads such as this and make it his own just as much as any fast bebop tune. 5/5

5) Lazy Bird - Another awesome song turned jazz classic. This one starts out with the piano. Morgan and Fuller are wonderful on their solos in this song. The responses from the entire band are reminiscent of "Moment's Notice". Jones keeps it swinging to keep you grooving and tapping your feet the whole time. 4.9/5

Summary - "Blue Train" is the best thing that could have possibly come out of Coltrane's first attempt at leading and composing his own group. His later works such as "Giant Steps" and "A Love Supreme" may be well-known, but this album is on the same scale if not greater considering his inexperience as a leader and a composer. Its influence on jazz is extraordinary. This band's and this album's sound is different from most of jazz and revolutionary and the title track is commonly used as an audition piece. Highly recommended for anyone who even remotely likes jazz. I give this album a huge 5 stars.

To read more into John Coltrane, please check out my review of "A Love Supreme".


user ratings (422)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
Zack (5)
A perfect album with no flaws, just magical and beautiful musicianship. ''It's an absolute 5/5''...


Comments:Add a Comment 
br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 1st 2005


2125 Comments


Very nice. I almost picked this up but I was thinking that I needed 'Giant Steps' more and reliable people told me I did. Of course, I didn't know much about this, so I'll make it a priority and put it at the top of my list of Coltrane purchases.

EDIT: The one piece of constructive criticism I can offer is that if you are going to do a track by track, rating each track would be helpful.This Message Edited On 08.01.05

fendercustomstrat
August 1st 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you very much for the comment and the consideration to buy the album. "Giant Steps" is also very good and a lot of people say it's better than "A Love Supreme" simply because all of the songs are fast-tempo and similar to his work with Miles Davis on songs like "Milestones", but "Blue Train" has more depth and variety.

I appreciate the criticism, but I find that when reviewers rate each individual track people tend to only look at that the # of stars and ignore the details about the song before they listen to it. That's just my point of view. Thanks again!!!This Message Edited On 08.01.05This Message Edited On 08.05.05

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 1st 2005


2125 Comments


That may be true. Perhaps you could put ratings in a seperate section at the end or something.

fendercustomstrat
August 1st 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good idea. I'll try that when I get the time. Thanks!

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 1st 2005


2125 Comments


Tops :thumb:

Sepstrup
August 1st 2005


1563 Comments


Nice review... Not that into jazz yet but definitely working on it... How do you make that cool thumps up smiley?

fendercustomstrat
August 1st 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'd like to know how to do that too. That is really cool! : )

Zappa
August 1st 2005


355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a very good hard-bop record. I disagree with your comment that its sound is "different from most of jazz," since it plays like a pretty typical late-fifties/early-sixties jazz combo album, in my opinion. It's a very good one, though.

fendercustomstrat
August 1st 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You're right, but my main point in saying that it is unique is the inclusion of Curtis Fuller on trombone, which is in itself a jazz rarity.This Message Edited On 08.02.05

fendercustomstrat
August 12th 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Glad you like the album and my review. I play alto and tenor sax as well. Definitely not a good album to try to play along with past the heads of the songs. Trane's tone can be harsh at times. I'd recommend playing along with Cannonball Adderley.

masada
August 28th 2005


2733 Comments


This is definately a great album, especially "Moment's Notice," but I can't agree with the 5-star rating.

Woodstock
September 9th 2005


154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very good album. It's the first Coltrane album I bought, and I was pretty surprised how good it was. Later I bought A Love Supreme, and Giant Steps.

fendercustomstrat
September 19th 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, both "A Love Supreme" and "Giant Steps" are extremely good albums, but that doesn't mean (to Eliminator Jr.) that it doesn't deserve a 5-star rating. All of the takes released are stellar and most of them have become jazz standards. I'd have to say that out of the 3 albums mentioned, this one is my least favorite, "A Love Supreme" being 1st and "Giant Steps" being second.

Krabsworth
February 19th 2006


31 Comments


Great trumpet playing, indeed.This Message Edited On 02.19.06

Kiran
Emeritus
August 21st 2007


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can play most of 'Moment's Notice' on my sax. I've been playing for 10 years now. You just gotta love jazz.This Message Edited On 08.21.07

Digging: Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

LifeInABox
December 2nd 2007


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is good. Right now I think it's better than A Love Supreme, or at least as of now I like it more.

PaulShallPerish
July 23rd 2010


84 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good review

Although Tranes debut solo LP was "Coltrane", if i'm not mistaken.

iemona
August 16th 2010


8 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

words can't describe how good this album is

morte
December 27th 2010


129 Comments


loltrain

MO
February 17th 2011


18985 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

soo good



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