Blue Train (album)

Blue Train is a studio album by John Coltrane, released in January 1958 on Blue Note Records, catalogue BLP 1577.[1][2] 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.[7]

Blue Train
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 1958[1][2]
RecordedSeptember 15, 1957
StudioVan Gelder Studio, Hackensack
GenreHard bop[3]
LabelBlue Note
BLP 1577
ProducerAlfred Lion
John Coltrane chronology
Blue Train
John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Penguin Guide to Jazz[5]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[6]


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.

All of the compositions were written by Coltrane, with the exception of the standard "I'm Old Fashioned". The title track is a long, rhythmically variegated blues with a sentimental [quasi minor; in fact based on major chords with flat tenth, or raised ninth] theme that gradually shows the major key during Coltrane's first chorus. "Locomotion" is also a blues riff tune, in forty-four-bar form.[8] During a 1960 interview, Coltrane described Blue Train as his favorite album of his own up to that point.[9]


John Coltrane's next major album, Giant Steps, recorded in 1959, would break new melodic and harmonic ground in jazz, whereas Blue Train adheres to the hard bop style of the era. Musicologist Lewis Porter has also demonstrated a harmonic relationship between Coltrane's "Lazy Bird" and Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird".[10]

In 1997, The Ultimate Blue Train was released, adding two alternate takes and enhanced content, and in 1999 a 24bit 192 kHz DVD-Audio version was issued. In 2003, both a Super Audio Compact Disc version was released, as well as a remastered compact disc as part of Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder series.

In 2015, Blue Note/Universal released a Blu-Ray Audio edition of the album with four bonus tracks, one of which is a previously unreleased take of "Lazy Bird".

Track listing

Side one
1."Blue Train"John Coltrane10:43
2."Moment's Notice"John Coltrane9:10
Side two
1."Locomotion"John Coltrane7:14
2."I'm Old Fashioned"Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern7:58
3."Lazy Bird"John Coltrane7:00
  • Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–5 on CD reissues.
1997 CD bonus tracks
6."Blue Train" (alternate take)John Coltrane9:58
7."Lazy Bird" (alternate take)John Coltrane7:12
2013 Blue Note SHM-CD
1."Blue Train"John Coltrane10:43
2."Moment's Notice"John Coltrane9:10
3."Locomotion"John Coltrane7:14
4."I'm Old Fashioned"Johnny Mercer, Jerome Kern7:58
5."Lazy Bird"John Coltrane7:00
6."Blue Train" (Alternate Take 1)John Coltrane7:12
7."Blue Train" (Alternate Take 2)John Coltrane9:58
8."Lazy Bird" (Alternate Take)John Coltrane7:12



Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[11] Gold 50,000^
Italy (FIMI)[12] Gold 50,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[13] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. Porter, Lewis, ed. (2013). The John Coltrane Reference. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. p. 484. ISBN 1135112576.
  2. Editorial Staff, Cash Box (18 January 1958). "January Album Releases" (PDF). The Cash Box. The Cash Box Publishing Co. Inc., NY. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  3. Cook 2004, p. 103.
  4. Blue Train at AllMusic
  5. Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-14-103401-0.
  6. Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 46. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  7. RIAA Gold and Platinum Search retrieved August 2, 2011 Archived June 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. Jazz Discography on-line
  9. Porter 1999, p. 157.
  10. Porter 1999, pp. 128-131.
  11. "Canadian album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train". Music Canada.
  12. "Italian album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 10 December 2018. Select "2015" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Blue Train" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
  13. "British album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Blue Train in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  14. "American album certifications – John Coltrane – Blue Train". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 


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