John Coltrane – Blue Train – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Blue Note pressing has THE BEST SIDE TWO we’ve ever heard or expect to hear! It does EVERYTHING right, giving you the kind of Blue Train sound that most jazz fans have dreamed of forever but certainly have never heard before. The sound is absolutely KILLER, sounding dramatically more like live music than any copy we’ve played. It’s full-bodied and rich with tons of energy, YOU ARE THERE immediacy and wonderful clarity. There’s also a ton of tubey magic and an unbelievably strong bottom end, making this the kind of record that’s going to BLOW YOU AWAY. I bet you never believed Blue Train could sound like this — heck, we sure didn’t!

Side one is excellent and certainly better than most, but it’s not quite in a league with side two. It’s open and transparent with a punchy bottom end, but it doesn’t have the tubey magic nor the clarity of the second side. Still, the sound is natural, musical and enjoyable.

This is obviously one of the great jazz albums of all time, and it’s beyond difficult to find clean copies with good sound. We’ve yet to hear a modern reissue that didn’t disappoint, but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who follows this site.

We’ve had the opportunity to shoot out this album a number of times now and have had a chance to hear numerous Stereo and Mono pressings from pretty much every different Blue Note era. I can count the number of early Mono pressings that have knocked me out on one finger, and that’s certainly not for lack of trying.

We’ve had the best luck with later Stereo pressings, but overall they are a seriously mixed bag. We’ve wasted hundreds of dollars and countless hours on bad pressings of this album on every Blue Note label it was pressed on, so if you want to avoid doing the same, one of our 100% guaranteed Hot Stamper copies will save you a lot of time, toil and trouble.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Blue Train
Moment’s Notice

Side Two

Locomotion
I’m Old Fashioned 
Lazy Bird

AMG Review

Although never formally signed, an oral agreement between John Coltrane and Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion was indeed honored on Blue Train — Coltrane’s only collection of sides as a principal artist for the venerable label. The disc is packed solid with sonic evidence of Coltrane’s innate leadership abilities. He not only addresses the tunes at hand, but also simultaneously reinvents himself as a multifaceted interpreter of both hard bop as well as sensitive balladry — touching upon all forms in between… Blue Train can easily be considered in and among the most important and influential entries not only of John Coltrane’s career, but of the entire genre of jazz music as well.Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience. Although this was John Coltrane’s debut for Atlantic, he was concurrently performing and recording with Miles Davis… He was, in essence, beginning to rewrite the jazz canon with material that would be centered on solos — the 180-degree antithesis of the art form up to that point. These arrangements would create a place for the solo to become infinitely more compelling. This would culminate in a frenetic performance style that noted jazz journalist Ira Gitler accurately dubbed “sheets of sound.” Coltrane’s polytonal torrents extricate the amicable and otherwise cordial solos that had begun decaying the very exigency of the genre — turning it into the equivalent of easy listening.