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on 14 January 2009
This is one of the latest of Membran's cheap "no frills" offerings, taking advantage of the EU 50 year copyright expiry. Some of their previous offerings have been a bit hit or miss. The Parker for example, is now the best available introduction and is in more or less chronological order. Whereas the Mingus "Mysterious Blues" collection of his earliest tracks, although containing rare and valuable material, looks as though it was compiled by a teenager on 'job experience'!
No worries here though - this one is meticulous, even if missing session details. It covers 'Trane's earliest sides sides for Prestige in 1956, under his own name or in "All Star" sessions, up to September 1957. Prestige was known as the "junkies' label", where players would record a session with minimal rehearsal for a fixed fee. It looks like initially they took no risks with 'Trane's reliability as the earliest sessions were "All Star" affairs pairing him with at least one other tenor player, and often a trumpeter, presumably on the basis that someone would show up and the studio time would not be wasted.
Whatever the reason it served him well at that time. In fact the first CD and about half the second have him with Hank Mobley and Donald Byrd (from the 'Two Tenors" date - originally released under pianist Elmo Hope's name).
All of the "Tenor Conclave" session is included in discs 1 and 2 - this time with Cohn and Sims as well as Mobley.
Even at this stage Trane is clearly moving in a different direction and takes a few more risks than the others, pushing the edges of his own technical limits of the time. Of course it all only serves to him make him sound even more interesting! Mobley in particular suffers time and again by sounding conservative, even a throwback, in comparison (It happened again in 1961 on Miles' "Someday My Prince Will Come"). Sensibly, Coltrane solos after him on almost every track. Rollins fares better on disc 2 on the "Tenor Madness" duet - He clearly had developed his style in the previous 4 years.
It's interesting that Rollins, although about 4 years younger, had come to prominence as a soloist about 4 years before Trane, basically from age 21 or 22. My own take on this is that Rollins was born and lived in NYC and was "around" constantly when Parker and Miles were developing the new music, whereas Trane was in Philadelphia and spend a lot more time touring with blues (like Vinson) and 'popular music' bands (eg Bostic), and only began recording as a soloist at age 30.
Paul Quinichette, who appears on a few tracks, also sounds like a throwback and lacking in presence, just as he had with Parker in the 40s.
Also hidden away on these 10 discs are 2 of my favourite Trane dates from the time - "Traneing In" (originally under Red Garland's name) and "Blue Train" - the Blue Note sextet date on which he first showed is chops as a composer. But there's much more than this here, including the studio sessions with Monk from 1957, and (worth the price alone!) the recently-discovered Carnegie Hall concert with Monk.
None of the '55 and '56 Miles' quintet sessions are included, but most of these are included Membran's excellent Miles' 10 CD "Just Squeeze Me" (you'll need to add a copy of Miles' "Cookin" for 'completeness').
All in all an excellent set and a far less expensive alternative to Concord's "Fearless Leader" box.
Just a thought: There should be enough excellent material in Trane's remaining 18 month Prestige tenure, (the EU copyright of which expires this year!) to fill another 10 CD set! ...Please!!!!
Just Squeeze MeWalkin'
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on 2 October 2009
Coltrane's Blue Train would be worth the money on its own. Add in two more lps worth of material and you get amazingly good value for money. Paul Chambers play bass on the tunes from Blue Train and Soutrane but its his school friend Doug Watkins on the Dakar material. Other players include Curtis Fuller, Tommy Flanagan, Philly Joe JOnes, Red Garland, Kenny Drew, Art Taylor, Pepper Adams and Cecil Payne. Great material, great execution, great value. Coltrane at his most accessible.
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on 9 March 2009
A long time ago i paid very good money for the tunes in this set and now here they are at this knock down price,a five star recording and in the case of the Blue Train items,the cream of Coltrane at this part in his recording career,timeless and driving,beautiful REAL JAZZ from one of the best we are ever to get the chance to hear, BUY THIS ITEM, you know it deserves a good home, and your ear's, heart and brain will be better for it.
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on 5 February 2013
This is a review of the VINYL reissue of this album. I need to clarify this because Amazon aggregates all the reviews of this reissue, regardless of format.

The Vinyl looks pretty good, nice and flat, not too noisy. But the sound is pretty thin. The label who is releasing this doesn't have access to the original masters: This is a 50 year copyright expiration gray market item. So what they used as source material is not the proper tapes. From the sound of things, it could well be a digital copy of the album. I don't hear the warmth and presence in this vinyl issue that I'd expect from a properly sourced vinyl album.

With that said, you could ask what's the point of this VINYL issue? If it's digitally sourced, why buy a VINYL end product, which then combines all the deficiencies of digital with all the deficiencies and inconveniences of vinyl.

Answer: There is no reason to buy this on Vinyl, other than, perhaps, because you like the way it looks. And even then, the packaging here is strictly budget.

Pass on this. If you want a vinyl experience for this material, go to the labels who issued it, or their legitimate licensees.
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on 28 March 2001
Let's go back to 1957, the jazz scene is blooming, the musical leader and role model for the black race at that period is Miles Davis, who after assembling his legendary first quintet has recently moved from blue note to Columbia. This quintet consisted of Red Garland on piano, Philly Joe Jones on drums, bassist Paul Chambers, Miles Davis on trumpet and the new star of the jazz scene John Coltrane on tenor saxophone who would become the next symbol for the black jazz scene after 1962.
At this point (1957) and after having learned many things from Davis and improved very much even if he was not sure he wanted to leave the band, Coltrane was getting many suggestions to begin a solo career. So Davis who didn't plan to let him go so easily set him up a studio date with his former label: Blue note.
The result, was this magnificent LP.It is ironic that even though this is the first compositions Coltrane recorded many think they are his best. I do not agree with that but it is not hard to explain. For one thing they are all suberb jazz compositions, became standards immediately and they lack the more abstract and free-jazz elements Coltrane incorporated in his musical style later. It is possible that you may not be patient enough or may just not apreciate Coltrane's later efforts that however marked a new era not only in jazz but in music in general, and who knows what would have happened if this superb artist had't passed away so soon in 1967.One thing is certain you will probably love this record even if you just like the blues, even if free jazz gives you creeps or even if it is your cup of tea.So just buy it.It is not just a great CD it is the first step (anything but a timid step however) a musical legend made, and that makes it essential and beyond sufficient praise
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on 19 July 2009
This is an excellent budget price box of early Coltrane from 1956/57. While most fans will have some of these tracks, it is still a good cheap and effective way of buying Coltrane's early session recordings on prestige which haven't been re issued under hid own name. A few of these recordings (mainly Coltrane's own bands) have been remastered individually (RVG remasters) This collection DOES NOT include these remasters and has only original transfers.

So what are you getting exactly? While the first reviewer is excellent in his information it needs a more precise approach.

Basically you this 10 cd set includes 75 tracks culled from 20 different albums. Some sessions are complete others miss tracks i'm afraid. Coltrane's discography is a complete nightmare for bibliographers as a lot of these sessions were released over several years, renamed, re- issued and tracks added and cut. The information is mainly from session dates and original LP or cd releases. Please forgive the occassional inaccurracy! Hopefully they are at a minimum!

The first third of this collection has all the session tracks, after that some tracks are omitted.

1. Elmo Hope "Informal Jazz" also known as H. Mobley & JC "2 Tenors" & as JC "2 tenors with Hank Mobley"

Track list: On It, Polka Dots & Moonbeams, Weeja, Avalon. (Complete session)

2. Sonny Rollins "Tenor Madness" title track (JC plays only on this track)

3. Prestige All Stars "Tenor Conclave" also known as JC "Tenor Conclave"

Track List: Tenor Conclave, Bad Boys, Just You Just Me, How Deep Is The Ocean. (Complete Session)

4. Tadd Dameron "Mating Call" also known as JC & Tadd Dameron "Mating Call"

Track List: Soultrane, Gnid, Mating Call, On A Misty Night, Romas, Super Jet. (Complete Session)

5. Prestige All Stars "Interplay For 2 Trumpets & 2 Tenors" was also listed under Mal Waldron.

Track List: Interplay, Soul Eyes, Anatomy, Light Blue (Complete session)

6. Art Taylor "Taylor's Wailers"

Track List: C T A (JC plays only on this track)

7. JC "Dakar"

Track List: Witches Pit, Marys Blues, Cat walk, Route 4, Dakar, Velvet Scene. (complete session)

8. Mal Waldron "Mac 2"

Track List: Pot Pourri, Don't Explain, JM's Dream Doll (Omits 3 tracks)

9. Mal Waldron "The Dealers"

Track List: Falling In Love With love (Omits 3 tracks)

10. JC "Coltrane"

Track List: Chronic Blues, Bakai, While My Lady Sleeps, Time Was, Violets for furs. (Omits 1 track)

11. JC "Lush Life"

Track List: I Hear A Rhapsody, Tranes Slow Blues, Like Someone in Love, I Love you (Omits 1 Track)

12. JC "Last Trane"

Track List: Slowtrane (omits 3 tracks)

13. Thelonius Monk "T M and Himself"

Track List: Monk's Mood (JC only plays on this track from the session)

14. T M with JC "Monk with JC"

Track List: Tinkle Tinkle, Nutty (3 tracks omitted)

15. JC "Blue trane"

Track List: Blue Train, Moments Notice, Locomotion, I'm Old Fashioned, Lazy Bird (complete session)(But no alternate takes)

16. Prestige All Stars "Wheelin & Dealin"

Track List: Dealin, Things ain't what they used to be, Wheelin, Robin's Nest, Dealin take 2, Wheelin Take 2 (Complete session)

17. Red Garland Trio "Traneing In" Also known as JC "Traneing In" & Red Garland Trio with JC "Traneing In"

Track List: Slow Dance, Soft Light sweet Music, Traneing In, You leave Me Breathless, Bass Blues (Complete session)

18. Red Garland "Soul Junction"

Track list: Woody n You, I Got It Bad (and that ain't Good) (3 tracks omitted)

19. Red Garland "All Morning long"

Track List: They Can't Take That Away From me, Our Delight (1 track Omitted)

20. "Thelonius Monk with JC Live At Carnegie Hall"

Track List: Monk's Mood, Evidence, Crepuscule With Nellie, Nutty, Epistrophy, Bye-Ya, Sweet & Lovely, Blue Monk, Epistrophy (Incomplete) (Complete session of recorded concert)

The occasional missing track(s) marrs only slightly what is an excellent compendium of Coltrane's early sessions for Prestige.

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on 14 April 2004
Known as a classic CD with excellent musicians adding to the album such as Lee Morgan ( from Sidewinder ) on Trumpet and Philly Joe Jones on drums.
Worth buying the CD for the 10:40 of Blue Train alone . It was written by Coltrane and is a Blue Note classic. This album has a few BONUS ITEMS ( get it for these alone!!!!! )
There are 2 un-issued tracks : Blue Train ( alternative take ) & Lazy Bird ( alternative take )
AMAZING ADDITION – A VIDEO + EXTRAS OF John Coltrane featuring on Miles Davis Track called “ So What! “.This Blue Note Disc is enhanced , meaning that just plug it into your PC or Mac and watch the world of Blue Note unfold before your eyes! Wow
Only 7 tracks on this album but what you do get is the full versions with all tracks over 7 minutes long.
This captures John Coltrane at his finest with familiar hooks and melodies in tracks such as the rapid paced Track 2- moments notice.
The quality of reproduction is crystal clear and has been digitally re-mastered. Blue Note remains constant in its delivery of quality products.
If you are collecting the Legends of Jazz – This Cd would be a great inclusion
This review is for the enhanced CD version
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 June 2013
Following John Coltrane's outstanding series of recordings with the Miles Davis Quintet the previous year, 1957's Blue Train is often regarded as the first solo recording on which Coltrane really began to push his own distinctive style (despite, in parallel, having also recorded a number of solo albums for Prestige) - in particular with an increased focus on his own compositions. Blue Train was also notable for being one of the few occasions where Coltrane as band leader was able to employ the services of Philly Joe Jones on drums, who, along with Kenny Drew's piano and Paul Chambers' bass, made up the rhythm section, in addition to the horns of Lee Morgan's trumpet and Curtis Fuller's trombone.

Of course, the album gets off to a spectacular start with the title tune, which features probably my favourite Coltrane solo here, opening with more than three minutes of the man's distinctive pyrotechnics and a very clear portent of his playing of 18 months later on Kind Of Blue. Indeed, although both Morgan and Fuller also do sterling work here, it is really Coltrane's baby. In fact, although Morgan has never been one of my favourite players, his 19-year old youthful exuberance is to be admired here, particularly on his dynamic soloing on Moment's Notice and, in particular, on Lazy Bird (my favourite number here), with its lyrical, almost Miles-like opening (and nicely bowed solo from Chambers). Locomotion provides a similar up-tempo basis for some impressive soloing from the three horns (following the horns' harmonic intro), plus a nicely swinging solo from Drew. The only non-original here is the exquisite Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer ballad I'm Old Fashioned, on which Coltrane shows he is just as adept at heartfelt tender melody (a la Everytime We Say Goodbye) as he is at rapid, dextrous virtuosity.

The 2003 CD release also includes interesting alternate takes of Blue Train and Lazy Bird.

Although Blue Train is very highly rated in Coltrane's work, I must admit to having a slight preference for his later albums Giant Steps, A Love Supreme, Olé and Coltrane (the 1962 version), but I would still regard Blue Train as essential Coltrane, particularly in terms of being a milestone in the man's burgeoning solo career.
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on 28 September 2011
1957 was a particularly productive year for John Coltrane. After being "fired" from the Miles Davis Quintet, he began recording as a frontman for Prestige records, he grew musically and personally thanks to his collaboration as a sideman with Thelonious Monk and, for the fulfillment of an previous economical arrangement with Blue Note producer Alfred Lion, he recorded Blue Train for that label; all of this _after_ quitting heroin.

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.
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Together with Miles Davis' `Kind of Blue' and Dave Brubeck's `Time Out' an historic trio of modern jazz recordings of the late 1950s is ensured by John Coltrane's `Blue Train'. Coltrane played as sideman to many famous artists (including Miles Davis) but `Blue Train' employed a group of jazzmen selected by himself with numbers of his own choosing. Apart from Jerome Kern's standard `I'm Old Fashioned' the other 4 compositions are Coltrane's, and to me the best is `Locomotion' rather than the title track. The total of tracks is made up to 7 with inclusion of alternate takes of the famous `Blue Train' and `Lazy Bird'. Music is hard bop style and somewhat discordant to a traditional jazz lover like myself, yet Coltrane's raw emotion shines through the complex melodies. It is perhaps less adventurous than what was to follow but there are hints at changes with such as `Moment's Notice'. On its own `Blue Train' is a seminal recording, but along with `Kind of Blue' and `Time Out' it makes up a terrific triptych. Unsurprisingly these 3 CDs are offered together by Amazon under "Frequently Bought Together".
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