John Coltrane’s Seminal Blue Train Gets Both 180g 1LP Mono & 2LP Stereo Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Series Reissues From Blue Note on September 16

John Coltrane’s all-time hard-bop classic, January 1958’s Blue Train, is coming back around the vinyl bend. To mark the 65th anniversary of the album’s recording, Blue Train will be released in two special editions on September 16, 2022, as part of Blue Note’s Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series.

A 1LP mono pressing of the original album will be presented in a deluxe gatefold tip-on jacket, while the 2LP stereo collection dubbed Blue Train: The Complete Masters will include a second disc featuring seven alternate and incomplete takes, none of which have been released previously on vinyl, and four of which have never been released before on any format.

To get a taste of The Complete Masters, check out “Blue Train (Alternate Take 8)” below. . .

The Complete Masters comes with a booklet featuring never-before-seen session photos by Francis Wolff and an essay by Coltrane expert Ashley Kahn. Both Tone Poet Vinyl Editions were produced by Joe Harley, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original analog master tapes, and pressed on 180g vinyl at RTI.

The recording facts are these: On September 15, 1957, John Coltrane went into Rudy Van Gelder’s living room studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, and recorded his first great masterpiece, Blue Train. The fulfillment of a handshake deal Coltrane made with Blue Note co-founder Alfred Lion, this would be the saxophonist’s sole session as a leader for Blue Note Records, a locomotive-paced five-track album fueled by the bluesy title track that featured a dynamic sextet consisting of Trane on tenor sax, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

 0801.apnews.coltrane.bluetrain.stereocover2.jpg

Blue Train established Coltrane as a force of nature, setting him on a course towards becoming one of the most revered and influential jazz artists of all-time. (Remember what followed, just 2 years later? February 1960’s even more seminal Giant Steps.)

According to producer Joe Harley, Blue Train is an all-time masterwork (and I must concur). “Few studio experiences I’ve had can compare with the thrill of listening to the original master tapes — mono, stereo, and alternate takes — of Blue Train,” Harley observed. “I consider these two new versions the definitive editions of this masterpiece performance by John Coltrane.”

 0801.apnews.coltrane.bluetrain.monocover2.jpg

Blue Train came at a pivotal moment in Coltrane’s career. Earlier in 1957, the saxophonist had hit bottom when his heroin addiction caused him to be fired from the Miles Davis Quintet. After kicking his habit, Coltrane returned with a fervor, inspired by an extended summer residency with Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot Café, located at 5 Cooper Square in New York City (a.k.a., the Bowery). By the end of the year, Coltrane had been rehired by Davis and had produced Blue Train, an album even he was admittedly deeply proud of.

As Ashley Kahn recounts in the included essay, “Blue Train was a recording that Coltrane, ever self-critical and modest, held in high regard. In 1960, while on tour with Miles Davis for the last time, a Swedish deejay asked Coltrane what he favored from his catalogue and he immediately responded: ‘Oh, I like Blue Train myself. It’s a good band on there, you know. It was a good recording.’” (Now, there’s an understatement, if ever I’ve heard/read one. . .)

Music Direct Buy It Now

JOHN COLTRANE
BLUE TRAIN: THE COMPLETE MASTERS

2LP Stereo (Blue Note)

 0801.apnews.coltrane.bluetrain.stereolparray2.jpg

Side A
Blue Train (Coltrane) – 10:43
Moment’s Notice (Coltrane) – 9:10

Side B
Locomotion (Coltrane) – 7:14
I’m Old Fashioned (Kern-Mercer) – 7:58
Lazy Bird (Coltrane) – 7:07

Side C
Blue Train false start * – 0:21
Blue Train alternate take 7 * – 7:09
Moment's Notice alternate take 4 * – 7:19
Lazy Bird alternate take 1 – 9:22

Side D
Blue Train alternate take 8 – 10:27
Moment's Notice alternate take 5A (incomplete) * – 5:08
Lazy Bird alternate take 2 – 7:29

* previously unreleased

updated with corrected side breaks (Side C & Side D) per Blue Note, 08.02.2022

 0801.apnews.coltrane.bluetrain.monolparray2.jpg

JOHN COLTRANE
BLUE TRAIN

1LP Mono (Blue Note)

Side A
Blue Train (Coltrane) – 10:43
Moment’s Notice (Coltrane) – 9:10

Side B
Locomotion (Coltrane) – 7:14
I’m Old Fashioned (Kern-Mercer) – 7:58
Lazy Bird (Coltrane) – 7:07

 0801.apnews.johncoltrane_bluest_franciswolff2.jpg

John Coltrane, deep in blue thought. Photo by Francis Wolff.

ALBUM CREDITS
John Coltrane, tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan, trumpet
Curtis Fuller, trombone
Kenny Drew, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums

Original session produced by Alfred Lion
Recorded on September 15, 1957, at
Van Gelder Studios, Hackensack, New Jersey
Recording Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Cover Design: Reid Miles
Photography: Francis Wolff
LP Supervision: Joe Harley
LP Mastering: Kevin Gray, Cohearent Audio

COMMENTS
Russo7516's picture

Is there and digital parts to these lp’s . Cause now we have to ask after No MoreFi .
Sorry

Happy Will's picture

There is a 45 rpm Audiophile video interview on YouTube with Joe Harly and Kevin Gray that covers this question.

volvic's picture

Was deep in the Montana forests and hills vacationing when the email announcement came through. Stopped the hike and ordered both. Stoked, can’t wait for them to arrive.

Tom L's picture

"mastered by Kevin Gray from the original analog master tapes" but as we know that doesn't mean there were no digital steps involved. I'm buying the 2 LP version anyway.

Russo7516's picture

I had to ask this question given the current climate. Sorry ,I wish I did not have to.
As for 45 Rpm . I have zero trust in what any of those You Tube critic’s have to say. Most of them are back pedaling their statement's . Some are just a salesman on there.
They have alot of skin in this like it or not.

garrard701's picture

This is excellent news! The Tone Poet series has consistently put out first-rate releases: the packaging, curation, sound, and pressing are outstanding, and at a very fair price. I ordered both immediately. I have not been this excited about a new reissue since... well, I guess the Beastie Boys "Check Your Head" which was written up here the other day. Reading AnalogPlanet is getting expensive.
I, too, am interested to know how much digital is in the chain here -- but purely out of curiosity. The releases sound incredible. (My favorites would be Andrew Hill's "Passing Ships," Chick Corea's "Now He Sings...," and Herbie Hancock's "My Point of View"). I'll savor this Coltrane, but my vote for next title is anything from Grant Green's sadly overlooked fusion years.

rich d's picture

I, too, would love to see quality reissues of the later Grant Green LPs. Even the couple that weren't on Blue Note. Sadly, it doesn't look like it's gonna happen as the powers that be just want to reissue the same albums over and over again.

On the other hand, I'll buy this umpteenth version on Blue Train 'cause I love it. Note to the head Analog Planeteer: it was not his first great solo album.

Mike Mettler's picture
Which album do you consider to be Trane's "first great solo album"? I'm always open to hearing about everyone's favorites...

... and, which Grant Green album(s) from "the fusion years" are top-shelf? I don't have enough Green LPs in my collection, tbh, so tell me what I should get, thanks!!

rich d's picture

I think Lush Life is superb, and while it was released after Blue Train it was (all but one track I believe) recorded beforehand.

As for Grant Green, while it's hard to beat Solid and Idle Moments, his last half dozen records are all very good, with "Green is Beautiful" and "Live at the Lighthouse" being the standouts to these ears.

And while we're on the subject of great jazz records, everyone please walk away from your computer and scour up a copy of Lee Morgan's 'Tom Cat'. Finger-snappin', foot-tappin' goodness all the way through, with Art Blakey rim-shotting (please pardon overuse of hyphens) the rest of the band into focus every few bars. Damn!

Mike Mettler's picture
All good, thoughtful recommendations are always welcome here, imo. Good point re Lush Life, which is indeed great, but I'm going to stick with my chronological release date thought pattern regarding Blue Train.

Looks like I've got some further Grant Green LP research to do in the meantime, so thanks for those suggestions... and ditto re the Lee Morgan as well!!

garrard701's picture

MM: I can't argue with Rich D's recommendations. If you just want them all from that era, there's just Carryin' On; Green Is Beautiful; Alive! (all 1970); Visions; Shades of Green (both 1971); The Final Comedown; Live at The Lighthouse (both 1972). Maybe a TP box, such as the Ornette Coleman release? Alive! was at least reissued in the nice Blue Note 80 series.
There's also a well-pressed compilation of this era -- Blue Breakbeats -- from 1998, which is shockingly cheap on vinyl.
There's also the double "Live At Club Mozambique" which was finally released in 2006... but never on vinyl!
BTW in between his two Blue Note stints, when he was mostly inactive, Green recorded Iron City in 1966 (released 1972 on Cobblestone).

Mike Mettler's picture
Wow, this is fantastic! I'm updating my shopping list/file accordingly. (I also readily admit to carrying a scribbled wishlist in my pocket whenever I hit the record shops in person, even though I have the full list on my phone.) Not exactly sure where to start in this case because I feel like I need to hold these options in my hands to decide, rather than click/order, know what I mean?
Pretzel Logic's picture

Live at the Lighthouse is one of those (double) lps that always gets an enthusiastic response when i play it for friends. Rippin!

mcrushing's picture

I live about 3 miles from the Lighthouse, and I'm happy to report that it is still open and thriving. It changed hands during the pandemic and the new owners are extremely reverent of its history. As a local I've attempted to collect as many original "Live at the Lighthouse" records as possible. As an added challenge, I decided to do so only by finding them "in the wild" at SoCal record stores. Grant Green's entry is one of the few that still eludes me...as I watch its price skyrocket on discogs.

PLEASE REISSUE IT, Blue Note, if only drop the price on OGs!

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Green's "His Majesty King Funk." A quintet recorded by Rudy at Englewood Cliffs in '65, released on Verve, killer "Cantaloupe Woman," and featuring a smooooooth performance by Larry Young on the B3.

I've been pleased to see so much of BN's funk/soul/fusion stuff on the Classic Series. I have yet to encounter a Classic that sounds anything less than excellent, YMMV. But definitely pick up Pete LaRoca's "Basra," Bobbi Humphrey's "Blacks and Blues" and "Fancy Dancer." Also Ronnie Foster's "Two Headed Freap" and Brother Jack McDuff's "Moon Rappin" are on preorder.

Blue Note '65-75 is a criminally underrated era in audiophile circles.

arcman67's picture

Blue Train is my favorite Jazz album. I already have quite a few versions.

azmoon's picture

As stated clearly by Kevin Gray in the 45rpm interview.

mb's picture

Something isn’t right there.

Mike Mettler's picture
...you may be right -- gonna see about getting a ruling from the label on that, as they may have an incorrect side break listed there... stay tuned!!!
Mike Mettler's picture
Blue Note has indeed just confirmed with me the revised side-break info for Side C and Side D, which is now properly reflected in the story text. Thanks for the eagle eye and ear there, mb!!!
captwillard's picture

The Music Matters Version was cut from the Original Analog tape. I wonder how this will compare.

Jazz listener's picture

wherein Kevin says his equipment is better now which results in slightly better sound. Great interview/discussion of this album, their process and Coltrane in general - 1.5 hrs long.

captwillard's picture

That is good to hear. Did he indicate if they are using the same tapes in the same condition? A improved cutting chain is a positive, but if the source isn't the same or better...who knows???

SpinMark3313's picture

How can this music possibly be 65 YEARS OLD? It sounds as fresh and modern as it did the day it was released.
Remarkable stuff...

X