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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on December 19, 2001
It is easy to see why 'Blue Train' is one of the best-selling and most loved jazz albums of all time. From the famous, if untypically intense, opening bars of the title track, Coltrane is dedicated to offering the purest pleasure, now laidback, now party-swinging, a far cry from the far-out experimentation of his later work. With Paul Chambers' bass and Philly Joe Jones' drums furiously fretting like slaves on a Roman galley, Coltranes' sax blows melody after honeyed melody, mostly upbeat, with 'Locomotion' indicating both the music's forward momentum and its sense of taking you on a journey; but also reflective and nostalgic, as in the tight but beautifully brooding 'I'm Old Fashioned'. I particularly love the wood-twanging bass solos on 'Moment's Notice' and 'Lazy Bird'.
This kind of music has been a lazy signifier of 'cool' in innumerable night-club scenes from films and TV shows, but Coltrane's quiet intelligence ensures this remains as fresh and fun as the day it was recorded. It may be asking too much for an album that puts a huge grin on your face to also burn your soul - for that you must look elsewhere.
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on April 4, 2001
This is one of those albums that you can listen to through over and over again, all the way through and find new things everytime. I would place it up there with "Kind Of Blue" as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time. Even John Coltrane himself said that this was his favorite album he ever did. Each member takes solos that are jaw dropping. Of course Coltrane always did, Lee Morgan is incredibly imaginitive and smart, Curtis Fuller brings the trombone to the forefront with his solos, and Kenny Drew has lots of great moments. And the songs are incredible. "Blue Train" is a soulfull blues which has lots of great twists and turns down its 10 minute track... "Moment's Notice" is easily the best track Coltrane ever recorded of his own songs. The song is great by itself, but the solos are so good, I could sing all of them to you. And the song is 9 minutes!"Locomotion" reminds me of "Freddie Freeloader" from "Kind Of Blue". The tune is not much by itself, just a blues, but again the solos are crazy. Think of "Blue Train" speeding up. "I'm Old Fashioned" is an old show tune, and a lovely ballad. The ending with the cymbols and Paul Chambers bowing his bass is a very nice touch. And then there is "Lazy Bird" which is interesting. The meoldy is first stated by Lee Morgan alone. Usually the leader states the theme(and its a great theme)but Coltrane was always changing. Overall the best Coltrane album, and I've heard them all.
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on December 31, 2003
Since anyone considering buying this probably knows what a great album it is, I am writing this simply to address the Hybrid SACD version of "Blue Train." This is one of those albums that I, personally, have spent the money to upgrade 3 times (it's THAT good).
While I can't speak for the recent RVG Series re-issue, I can say that this version sounds considerably better than the 1996 re-issue, "The Ultimate Blue Train" - bass is richer, drums crisper and over-all live feel of the recording is unprecendented. If are considering buying the RVG remaster, why not spend a few dollars more and get this Hybrid SACD since it plays in both Super Audio and regulars CD players. It is worth the investment.
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on February 22, 2004
For me, the recordings Coltrane made between 1957 and 1959 were his greatest of his entire two decade career. Milestones, Kind of Blue and Blue Train all showcase Coltrane at his best. Unlike the two recordings he made with the Miles Davis Sextet, this music is more easy listening and for that reason offers the perfect introduction to John Coltrane. Coltrane plays with fire on a wonderfully exciting blues journey, Blue Train; his solo being perfectly complemented by an equally exciting solo by trumpeter Lee Morgan. This piece is one of the most famous of all Coltrane recordings and rightly so. The recording captures the freedom and ambience of a true jam session sound. My personal favourite, however, is the only cover track on the album, I'm Old Fashioned. Here, Coltrane showcases, what for me, is the highlight on any John Coltrane solo - his sound. Coltrane had one of the most sublime saxophone sounds in the history of jazz, for me, second only to Charlie Parker. On this track, Coltrane bares his sound for all to hear, free of the intense technical displays which tend to obscure it. Like many other Coltrane ballad interpretations, he plays the pure melody, with slight augmentations, but always with simplicity and honesty. John Coltrane truly had one the most individual and beautiful sounds of all time and it is truly exemplified on, this, his most accessible of all recordings.
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on October 19, 2003
The rating, of course, is relative. Practically any recording by Coltrane before 1966 deserves five stars, but "Blue Trane's" singular importance, it strikes me, has been exaggerated. National Public Radio lists it in its "Basic Jazz Library" but omits "Giant Steps," the recording that changed the harmonic language of jazz.
"Blue Trane" is one of many Van Gelder-engineered sessions featuring Coltrane's tenor in the 1950's. Besides the Miles Quintet dates on Prestige there's sterling work by Trane on sessions with Kenny Burrell, Ray Draper, and Hank Mobley, to name a few.. "Blue Trane" is certainly an exemplary session, one moreover than inspires both Morgan and Fuller to reach new heights (though Fuller falters a bit on "Old Fashioned." One wishes J.J. Johnson, especially after his superb Blue Note session with Rollins, had recorded with Coltrane).
The problem with the session, compared to the Miles Quintet recordings, is simply that Trane has to give up solo space to an additional horn (if a sixth horn is to be added to the ensemble, it may as well be Cannonball Adderly's). Also, opinions will vary, but an undeniable sameness attaches itself to the familiar, up-close, "Van Gelder sound." Unless you're a Coltrane collector, the better bets from this period are the Columbia recordings, especially "Round Midnight" and "Kind of Blue." They capture superlative and stunning solos by Coltrane within the context of cutting-edge ensembles and three-dimensional sound.
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on August 7, 2003
Wait a minute, I already own "The Ultimate Blue Train" so what is this CD supposed to be, Super-Ultimate?! Clearly with this reissue of John Coltrane's classic "Blue Train," the folks at Blue Note have returned to the mindset they had during the deletion-happy, series-slashing days of the late 1980s (when they reportedly deleted the majority of that year's jazz releases to make way for a then new Garth Brooks album). I am delighted that Rudy Van Gelder has been able to remaster one of the greatest sessions that he ever recorded, but that fact alone does not warrant another reissue. "The Ultimate Blue Train" was worth buying to replace the original CD -- it had remastered sound, two bonus tracks, and a multi-media component featuring rare photographs and more. It was what CDs were supposed to be! Yet another CD reissue of the same material that we all are supposed to buy again, that furthermore confuses potential new jazz buyers, is not! The only reason I give this CD four stars and not less is because this album contains some of the greatest jazz ever made. I love John Coltrane, but I hate manipulative marketing.
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on November 7, 2010
Classic Jazz from a master of the tenor sax. Four of his own compositions with a Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer penned tune thrown in. A nice addition to anyones Jazz collection. I am not new to Jazz but have been fairly picky over the years in what I purchase. I will be adding more Coltrane to mine.
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on June 23, 2004
The music on this cd has made it one of the top jazz records of all time and that, of course, hasn't changed. But a bad mastering job can change the listenabilty of an album and that has occured here. I have a few of the "Rudy Van Gelder" editions and the sound generally is not fairing well. The cds are often quite tinny and lacking in the bass frequency.
From the pre-Impulse years, this cd and "Giant Steps" are arguably Coltrane's best as a leader. The compositions on "Blue Train" are great and his solos fantastic. It's the begining of a new harmonic language Coltrane was exploring, culminating with "Giants Steps" and then disintegrating into the more modal Impulse years.
Buy "Blue Train" for the music and hope Blue Note gets the sound right next time around.
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on February 28, 2004
I was not formerly aware of Rudy Van Gelder remasters. I was at the record store and I couldn't decide between the Rudy Van Gelder remaster or the SACD Hybrid which was also available. I assume that they're both remastered from the same master tape at 24 bit resolution, but I opted for the Van Gelder. It sounds great! The clarity and musicality of this remaster is incredible. I had previously used an 180 gram remastered vinyl as my reference copy, but the Van Gelder is an entirely new experience. I would highly recommend Rudy Van Gelder remasters. [...] has a great selection of Van Gelder remasters in both CD and LP.
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on October 15, 2003
This album (CD) is without a doubt my favorite all-time Coltrane work. I can't seem to get enough. The greatest Coltrane song ever written - "Blue Train" - is on this CD. This song has been featured in several movies (e.g. 'Singles')and has a style and rhythm that is like no other jazz song in the history of jazz music. In fact, 'Blue Train' is the consummate jazz song.
What's even greater than the above is the fact that every remaining song on this CD follows suit. 'Moment's Notice' has a nice friendly flow to it, and Curtis Fuller has some great trombone work on this song. Other songs like 'Locomotion' -which gives a locomotion feel to it - and 'I'm Old Fashion'- a lazy, flowing romantic melodious tune which draws the listener into the music - are also great additions. In fact, there's not a bad song on this CD. I Love this CD.
If you are a big fan of Coltrane's, a big fan of jazz music or just someone who would like to get introduced to Coltrane - this is the best album to begin your journey through the land of Coltrane (where many other great CDs exist). I highly recommend this CD.
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