Blue Train – John Coltrane
Blue Train is a studio album by John Coltrane, released in January 1958 on Blue Note Records, catalogue BLP 1577. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, it is the only Blue Note recording by Coltrane as session leader. It has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.
The album was recorded in the midst of Coltrane's residency at the Five Spot as a member of the Thelonious Monk quartet. The personnel include Coltrane's Miles Davis bandmates, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums, both of whom had worked before with pianist Kenny Drew. Both trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller were up-and-coming jazz musicians, and both were members of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in due course. Unlike his previous label, Blue Note paid the musicians to rehearse the music for a couple of days before the recording session.
All of the compositions were written by Coltrane, with the exception of the standard "I'm Old Fashioned". Though at this point his compositions used conventional diatonic harmonies, they were set in unconventional ways. The title track is a blues with a quasi-minor (Eb7#9) theme. "Locomotion" is also a blues riff tune, in forty-four-bar form. "Lazy Bird" is in part a transposition into the key of "G" of a Tadd Dameron composition of the same name.
Coltrane's playing exhibits the move toward what would become his signature style. His solos are more harmonic or "vertical" and lines arpeggiated. His timing was often apart from or over the beat, rather than playing on or behind it. During a 1960 interview, Coltrane described Blue Train as his favourite album of his own up to that point.