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|Vinyl, 25 March 2014||
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 31.29 x 31.39 x 0.79 cm; 684.07 Grams
- Manufacturer : X6SEF
- Manufacturer reference : LPB002005901
- Original Release Date : 2014
- Run time : 42 minutes
- Label : X6SEF
- ASIN : B00HG30CD4
- Country of origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 363 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
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Recorded at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, John Coltrane's Blue Train is a hard bob jazz album released on Blue Note in 1957. Certified Gold, Blue Train is Coltrane's second solo album and the only one he recorded for Blue Note as a leader although he was never formally signed to the label. Featured on the album are Coltrane on tenor sax with Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Blue Train will be reissued on vinyl as part of an overall Blue Note 75th anniversary vinyl reissue campaign spearheaded by current Blue Note Records President, Don Was.
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I have compared a remastered official release with a Mobile Fidelity remastering of ‘Blue Train’ and found that the difference in audio quality is not particularly apparent. The Mobile Fidelity release might be a little warmer, ‘rounder’ sounding but this release sounds perhaps a little punchier and direct. So plenty to celebrate here: unquestionably great Coltrane relayed in very good audio quality and all at a wonderful price.
If you don’t have these albums – get this set. Highly recommended.
Even for today this would be an excellent recording being detailed and crystal clear. For a studio recording it has a sense of place. It’s weaknesses are that occasionally the piano and drums can be lost in the mix whilst the only major issue is the restricted sound stage which is more a reflection of when the recording was made.
This recording flies, indeed it soars having very few weak points. A worthy addition to any collection.
I have not set out to write reviews of the music content as “beauty is in the ears of the listener”. These reviews are about the quality (or not) of the recorded sound. To read about how the reviews are done please see my profile.
• Clarity – excellent. indeed this recording is startlingly clear, no muddiness evident
• Channel separation – very good, good definition, very clear placement of musicians and instruments
• Channel balance – a classic studio mix which uses both channels to recreate an atmosphere of space. So the atmosphere is a little more than just a studio recording
• Sound Stage – reasonable, not particularly wide or deep but more than compensated for by the excellent clarity and instrument definition and placement
• Distortion – non audible
• Compression – no audible frequency limitation and there are clear highs and lows in both volume and frequency. This is particularly evident with the horns
• Atmosphere – very good has that bit more than a usual studio recording. The excellent clarity and instrument placement give this recording a slight intimate night club feel
• Bass – low frequencies – excellent, the sound of the double bass is outstanding, wooden, rich, full of tone. The note decay is clearly audible. The drums and percussion are deep, well defined and resonate beautifully. The balance between the drums and bass is just right, no one element dominates. The snare drum has a good rattle. The drums are occasionally a little far back in the mix but only to let other players shine.
• Treble – high frequencies – the piano is excellent having clear not decay. Again it can be a little lost in the mix on occasion. The cymbal sound is very measured having a shimmer without being overly bright and tiring. The horns are of course front and centre, they shine and soar but without being overly bright, brilliant or tiring. The punchy phrasing is well captured and audible
• Vocals - none
As a general rule of thumb recordings from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s are nearly always better on the original vinyl. Remasters often fail to please as it’s just not possible to make a silk purse from a sows ear, i.e. the original recording lacks the necessary detail to be processed digitally and show an audible improvement. Indeed such processing can make the sound worse.
Modern recordings which have been processed digitally from start to finish can be as good as vinyl. CD’s are often unfairly criticised for being poor quality. This is not the case, it is the original recording or the process which is to blame. Modern “remasters” can both enhance and degrade a recording. The statement GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) is the limiting factor. Ignore this at your cost.
Two bonus albums "Traineing In" and "Dakar", where again both of these albums were recorded on just one day each, are a fantastic bonus on the second disc.
I have found the sound production to be exceptionally good and the sleeve notes are provided Joseph Adair.
"Blue Train" is one of my favourite jazz albums and I recommend it to all.
Small details make the difference more often than producers usually think. While Prestige signed Coltrane, the saxophonist saved his best compositions and ideas to be imprinted in this Blue Note masterpiece. The reason? Blue Note paid for rehearsals. Simple as that. Other interesting details concern the presence of young trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller. Their participation in certain harmonic sections is precious, lightly reminding the style of some West Coast Jazz groups. Coltrane also relied on Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones for the rhythm section, completing the group with the more than competent pianist Kenny Drew. Rudy van Gelder, as you may have guessed from the name of this edition, recorded the sessions and remastered the album.
The result is stunning. Coltrane sticks to the Hard Bop style, but there are plenty of explorations to be discovered. The two alternate takes included in this edition, while not as inspired as the chosen ones, serve as a measure of the degree of improvisation VS written music of the tunes. The sound quality is impressive, as expected from Van Gelder.
If this is one of your first insights into Jazz you are going to be sorry, because there are very few albums as deliciously catered as this one. Coltrane's later career might possibly let you down, since he changed radically his style after Blue Train. If this is the case, I'd recommend you to explore Coltrane's own Soultrane, published by Prestige, which is not far away from Blue Train in terms of style, although it lacks more melody. Also, be sure to listen to Lee Morgan, the trumpeter you'll hear in this Blue Train CD; you'll find The Sidewinder particularly pleasant, but also check Tom Cat (with Curtis Fuller, also trombonist in Blue Train) and The Rumproller, spiritual sequel to The Sidewinder. If you find yourself missing cool harmonies, you might want to listen to Art Pepper and Chet Baker's The Route.