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The Ultimate Blue Train Enhanced, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 270 customer reviews

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Blue Train (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
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Audio CD, Enhanced, Original recording reissued, April 1, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Here's Trane in '57, in between work with Monk and Miles, flanked by Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller. This is the jazz genius in his early Prestige prime; this reissue adds alternate takes of Blue Train and Lazy Bird to Moment's Notice; Locomotion , and the rest of the LP!

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Blue Train is one of those ineffable sound recordings that actually seems to capture a moment of perfect artistry. Coltrane was in the midst of a Prestige recording contract but was able to honor a previous commitment to Blue Note and release this one album. With four Coltrane originals, including the haunting theme of the title track, and one standard, this recording showed Coltrane was becoming the complete package: player, composer, and bandleader. What distinguishes this session from the Prestige dates of the same time is the easy, relaxed, and obviously well-rehearsed playing of the group, and the usual masterful recording by Rudy van Gelder. This enhanced CD-ROM also features two alternate takes. The well-designed multimedia elements, including musician interviews and pictures from the famous van Gelder studio, round this stellar session into an experience that informs and delights over and over. --Michael Monhart

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 1, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: April 1, 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000005H7D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,303 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
John Coltrane was a monster of the tenor sax as early as 1955, when he first joined Miles Davis' band. An overachiever, Coltrane had a relentless and unvarying passion for practice, for improving his skills as an artist. As he progressed through his quite legendary career, he never ceased to amaze.
BLUE TRAIN (1957) is a classic; an album often heralded as one of the greatest records of the 1950s by fans and jazz educators alike. It gives the listener a very clear view of what made these musicians so great. You will notice things like Coltrane's (and pianist Kenny Drew's) tasteful and masterful usage of the blues scale in the chant-like title cut. Many musicians have the tendency to drive that scale into the ground when playing the blues. Not so here: these guys were well beyond that sort of thing. On Jerome Kern's "I'm Old Fashioned," you will hear Coltrane's (or was it Kenny Drew's?) ascending-stepwise reharmonization. The Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller solos on "Locomotion" are a delight, but that's true of the entire album.
It is well known that the Coltrane composition "Giant Steps" (released in 1959) is a bear to play, to improvise on the changes. But, even here, Coltrane was writing tunes that could shake a few people up. "Moment's Notice" is one such tune. It has an ABAC structure (8 bars, 8 bars, 8 bars, 14 bars: a total of 38 bars for one time through)--hard enough to follow--along with a barrage of formidable chord changes. Some say the song got its name when Curtis Fuller asked, "You expect me to play these changes at a moment's notice?"
BLUE TRAIN is certainly deserving of being hailed as a "classic," a term grossly overused these days.
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3 Comments 178 of 182 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Is "Blue Train" my favorite John Coltrane album? No, it isn't. Is it still a classic? You bet. Here is a record that captures the essence of cool and exudes style and grace so effortlessly, the music almost seems to float on air. John and his band give nothing less than 100% throughout this album, and their superb playing helped shape up what is now known as probably the most familiar jazz record that isn't performed by Miles Davis. It's been a while since I've listened to this album, but having recently gotten the newly packaged edition, I've reintroduced myself to a "Blue Train" that actually improves over the original recording. For one, the remastered version presents the album the way it was meant to be heard: clean and crisp. The incredible title track and "Locomotion" benefit most from the remastering, and Coltrane's sax playing is even more commanding this time around. Also, we get alternative versions of 2 tracks: the better of the two is "Blue Train." On this version, Coltrane's playing differs quite significantly, but it works just as well. In addition, the disc has an enhanced portion for your PC where you can listen to retrospective interviews from engineer Rudy Van Gelder, as well as a brief black-and-white video where Coltrane is performing with Miles Davis onstage. So if you're new to Coltrane and are unsure which version of "Blue Train" to get, this baby is the one to pick up. The remastering provides a better sound, you get two bonus tracks, and there's a decent handful of extras to view/listen on your computer. "Blue Train" still holds up as a classic, and its remastering and repackaging are well deserved.
Comment 85 of 88 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
In San Francisco there is a church of St. John Coltrane, they have weekly services, and they have a weekly radio show. Let me try to explain why I'm comfortable with the "St. John". What makes a saint? A saint performs miracles. Coltrane was fortunate in that when he performed his miracles a tape was rolling. For example, I consider his solo on "Blue Train" miraculous. Let me elucidate: I'm a saxophonist myself, and I can play a mean blues solo (not great, but mean), and I can listen to a great blues solo and while I could not have played the solo, I can imagine how it was played, and I recognize the player as a fellow mortal. But with some Trane solos, e.g. on "Blue Train", it's too much. I can't imagine how anyone could have played it, it's too fast, the energy level is too high, the lines are too perfect, the creativity is too great, it's giving expression to an emotion that is too deep. It simple doesn't seem possible that anyone could have played that solo. It is beyond comprehension, awe inspiring. A miracle? Check it out.
So, you might think, it's inaccessible, for the aficionado only. Nope. They released "Blue Train" as a 45! I heard it on the student union jukebox when I came to U.C. Berkeley. It is as accessible as it gets.
Jazz is ephemeral, everything has to be right for the best performances, and everything was perfect on this date. The players were all at the absolute top of their games, the tunes were great, the mood was right, it's a great record in every respect.
1 Comment 70 of 73 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Unquestionably one of the all-time best ever jazz recordings, and probably my favorite Coltrane album. Plenty has already been written here about the music ... this is jazz at it's best! If you just want some great tunes, and don't really care so much about some differences in recording quality, then don't hesitate to get this album today - you won't be disappointed!

The rest of this review is for those folks like me, who do notice subtle differences, and want the best possible sound quality:

Sadly, I have to proclaim my disappointment with this "remastered" release. I also own the 1997 CD release, which sounds significantly better. This new release is over-compressed, and has had a low-quality digital EQ boost in the treble, replacing the nuance and texture of Jones' excellent drumming with a homogenous sizzle - the cymbals have lost all semblance of realism. Blue Note should be ashamed for their mishandling of this historic recording, and especially for caving in to the over-compression fad which plagues the industry. I expect this sort of mindless mastering in bad pop recordings, not the greatest jazz of all time!

To some, this may come off as nitpicking, but I hope you'll excuse my negativity - to me it is disheartening to hear this sort of careless treatment of such treasured music, at the hands of professionals who surely know better.

Coltrane's beautiful music deserves a lot more care than this.

If you would like to own a better copy of this album, do yourself a favor and skip this edition - get the 1997 (20-bit "Super Bit-Map") CD instead. Your ears will thank you.
8 Comments 78 of 83 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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