Coltrane, John: Blue Train LP
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!