Blue Train is a hard bop jazz album by John Coltrane, recorded on September 15, 1957, at the Van Gelder Studio. It is considered Coltrane's first solo album, as it is the first he recorded featuring musicians and songs entirely of his choosing. All of the compositions were written by Coltrane, except "I'm Old Fashioned", a Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer standard. The title track is a long, rhythmically variegated blues with a brooding minor theme that gradually shifts to major during Coltrane's first chorus. "Locomotion" is also a blues riff tune, in thirty-two-bar form. The album was his only recording for Blue Note Records (catalogue number BST 81577).


Coltrane's next major album—1959's Giant Steps—would break new melodic and harmonic ground in jazz, whereas Blue Train adheres to the hard bop style of the era. Two of its songs—"Moment's Notice" and "Lazy Bird"—demonstrate Coltrane's first recorded use of Coltrane changes, which he would later expand upon on Giant Steps.[1] The artwork on the Vinyl cover of Blue Train (portrait of John Coltrane in blue faint) was inspired by Pablo Picasso"s 'Blue Period'. Coltrane is said to have been a proponent of Picasso's avant-garde movement, consequently giving his album name a second or better said, deeper interpretational and perhaps more significant meaning.[2]

Blue Train remains a popular disc, and during a 1960 interview Coltrane described it as his favorite album of his own up to that point.[3] The original five tracks were remastered to Compact Disc for a 1990 release. In 1997 The Ultimate Blue Train was released, adding two alternate takes and Enhanced CD content. In 1999, a 24bit 192kHz DVD-Audio version was issued as Blue Train Blue Note 1577. In 2003, a Super Audio CD version was released, as well as a Rudy Van Gelder remastered CD. The Rudy Van Gelder re-release is Copy Controlled.

The cover photo taken by Francis Wolff would inspire the cover design of Scott Weiland's 1998 album 12 Bar Blues and J-Live's All of the Above. The cover of Blue Train is also seen on a wall in a coffee shop on the South Park episode With Apologies to Jesse Jackson.

Track listingEdit

All songs written by John Coltrane, except where noted

  1. "Blue Train" – 10:43
  2. "Moment's Notice" – 9:10
  3. "Locomotion" – 7:14
  4. "I'm Old Fashioned" (Jerome Kern) – 7:58
  5. "Lazy Bird" – 7:00
Alternate takes (1997 CD release only)
  1. "Blue Train" (Alternate take) – 9:58
  2. "Lazy Bird" (Alternate take) – 7:12


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