Blue Train was John Coltrane’s only recording for Blue Note. It was the first album where he chosef the musicians he wanted to record with and it is the album in which he gets closest to hard bop, whicvh is a category that I don’t really understand. There are sub-categories in Jazz and if you asked me to listen and then tell you which category an album falls into I wouldn’t really know.
It has been said that “Blue Train” is uncharacteristic of Coltrane’s music and that it makes too many concessions to the Blue Note ‘sound’. Again, I really wouldn’t know, I just like it. I can certainly see the difference between this and the magnificent ‘Giant Steps’ but I can also see the difference between ‘Hard Days Night’ and ‘Let it Be’, and if there were no real difference then that would be a dissapointment.
At the time of recording, Coltrane had recently beaten his addiction to heroin that had been ongoing since 1953 and which had been overlaid on an earlier acquired addiction to alcohol and cigarettes, and much of the music on ‘Blue Train’ seems quite upbeat and, to me at least, has a sense of joy to it, a sense of release.