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         From the dramatic opening of the first, title, track to the high-energy last track, this is an exciting train journey full of rich, well-chosen and blended sound, led by the distinctive Coltrane tone.

 

 Review
Vintage Trane

John Coltrane: Blue Train
Virgin Records

Rs 125

 
Blue Train offers enough of a glimpse of the great passion and intensity that John Coltrane poured out in later days


Born in 1926, John Coltrane (aka Trane) was over 30 in 1957 when this album, one of his first as a leader, came out. In the decade or so to his early death from liver cancer, it's arguably his greatest, although most fans would concede there are a couple of later rivals for that title - the quartet recordings Giant Steps (1961) and the somewhat avant-garde A Love Supreme (1964).

Performed in hard bop style, Blue Train was pulled by a sextet, about the smallest size of group to offer a range of sounds for the ear to feast on in an age when trios and quartets were becoming the norm. Lee Morgan on trumpet and Curtis Fuller on trombone were the other two hornmen to balance the strong sound of Trane's tenor sax, and with Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and "Philly"' Joe Jones on drums joining the roster for solos, there's a large auditory menu to feast on here.

This was before the days when Coltrane developed the idea of pouring out cascades of notes or "sheets of sound'". So the music is more measured, more balanced than it got later, but still offers enough of a glimpse of the great passion and intensity that he poured out in those later days.

The interaction between the three horns, either in the theme or in a series of solos, is a common thread through the album. Piano solos also figure on all tracks, including an intro on the last track, Lazy Bird. Bass solos are also frequent, including a bowed (instead of the standard plucked) bass solo on Moment's Notice. The pace of the music is generally brisk, but for the slow ballad, I'm Old Fashioned . From the dramatic opening of the first, title, track to the high-energy last track, this is an exciting train journey full of rich, well-chosen and blended sound, led by the distinctive Coltrane tone.



Jazzebel


Posted on 18th July 2001


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