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John Coltrane: Blue Train

Blue Train
John Coltrane: Blue Train
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John Coltrane’s sole release as a leader on Blue Note is sandwiched between his first outing as a leader on Prestige (1957’s Coltrane) and his monumental debut on Atlantic (1960’s Giant Steps). Released in January of 1958, Blue Train marks a significant step forward for Coltrane as a composer (four of the five tracks are his originals). With a swinging, all-world rhythm section of pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, the leader’s rich three-horn harmonies with trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller are particularly effective on the stirring title track and the harmonically complex “Moments Notice.” While Morgan’s solos are crackling with youthful intensity, as on the hard boppish “Locomotive,” Fuller provides a mellow counterbalance. And the leader’s “sheets of sound” approach portends things to come. His wistful reading of the standard “I’m Old Fashioned” is also a precursor to his sublime Ballads album of 1963. To mark the 65th anniversary of the album’s recording, Blue Note has released two special editions as part of its Tone Poet vinyl reissue series —one mono pressing of the LP and one stereo pressing with previously unreleased alternate takes and false starts.


By Bill Milkowski

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