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4.6 out of 5 stars
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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 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 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 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 23 November 2004
I put this album in my CD player, and just couldn't believe my ears, from the word go it just clicks. It has to be said that my favorite 'Trane album has to be A Love Supreme, but if your into that 50's loose Jazz you can't go far wrong with this album. One thing that i really thought was great was the fact that all of the musicians on the recording have solo's on it on most if not all the tracks. This gives a great Spontaneity to the sound that's produced, a real smoky Jazz club feel!This is a must for the Discerning Jazz Fan!!!
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on 14 August 2013
This is pertaining to the Original Jazz Sound version of John Coltrane's Blue Train album. Unfortunately Amazon have a habit of amalgamating all Coltrane reviews together so you can never be sure of what album you're reading about. Anyway, apparently the OJS label specialises in putting out poor quality re-issues of material that has fallen out of copyright and should be treated with some caution. More specialised and technical information can be found here: [...]
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on 8 November 2010
I can only give 5 stars for this album. Keeping it short, this is perfect for coffee table evenings, late night listening or open-house background music. Give a try - you won't be disappointed
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on 20 July 2010
John Coltrane's Blue Train is brilliant, so good that I sent away for another one and gave mine away! It's very good and I'm well impressed! The packaging and delivery were good as well, so that added to it no end. Would recommend this album.
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