Extra Tracks, Reissued, Remastered
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Blue Train (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, August 5, 2003
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John Coltrane's most important and best selling album after "A Love Supreme", Blue Train gets with Rudy Van Gelder for a 24-bit mastering treatment. This edition features the complete session with alternate takes included.
The tenor sax giant had signed with another label when he embarked on this one-off date for Blue Note, an excursion that paid off with an enduring modern jazz masterpiece. Boasting volley after volley of smart soloing and intuitively swinging rhythm work, Blue Train is a joy, from the coolly precise ensemble entry on the opening title piece through the set's balance of elegant hard bop conversations and smooth downshifts into ballads. John Coltrane wrote four originals for the date, all of them now regarded as standards, and assembled a rhythm section including pianist Kenny Drew, Miles Davis's rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, and trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller, both recent Blue Note recruits. Coltrane's signature sound, now fully developed but still hewing more to familiar blues and chromatic harmonies than his later modalities, is confident and expansive, and his partners respond vividly throughout. --Sam Sutherland
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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.
This is NOT the case... this is merely a higher quality recording (higher bit-rate) disc of a classic coltrane album.
If you don't already own this album, you should get it. but if you already own the "regular" cd, this is not what you probably want.
The first was slightly warped with many scuffs and a few scratches. The lead in to side A doesn't track properly, Blue Train has a noticeable click in the first 30 seconds of the song (this seems to be an issue with the stamper as the same clicks are present on my replacement), spindle hole was far too tight and had some excess vinyl still attached, and there is quite a bit of surface noise throughout. If I were to list this copy for sale, I wouldn't grade it higher than VG.
My replacement copy, while much better, still has a few scuffs and the aforementioned click in Blue Train as well as far more surface noise than it should have.
I really wish that record labels would stop using United to press great albums until they got their act together. What a terrible treatment given to great recording.
The saddest part is, besides the QC issues, this seems to be a well mastered release of a timeless recording.
One last thing to mention is that Amazon was quick to send a replacement and I have no doubt that they'd send yet another if I asked. I'm sticking with the second one, as I doubt United did much better than what I have.
Lee Morgan (trumpet); Cutis Fuller (trombone(; the rhythm section: Kenny Drew (piano); Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones on bass. The four original tunes on this gig (by Trane) are Blue Train, Locomotion, Moments' Notice and Lazy Bird, all bop standards today.
Come on folks! How can you call yourself a jazz lover and not have this album?