To build a legacy around a certain genre takes the diligence of time, effort, and the important clear focus of a mastermind. With John Coltrane, there was always something different in his play style, the way that the music just flooded from his saxophone that made him a vital and attractive figure in the foundations of popular jazz music. With his partners in crime; Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers, Kenny Drew, Lee Morgan, and Curtis Fuller backing him up; Coltrane would capitalize on his ability to electrify a room.
Opening with the incredibly famous, shadowy display of “Blue Train”, a self-titled cut from Blue Train. The track has an ominous nature about it in the first moments that creates a detective tension behind the notes with the nightlights coming into life as the city begins to die down. Then in a burst of energy, Coltrane flares up and shows the booming and rush of a cityscape that is overtaken by the structure of jazz glory. Without becoming entirely freeform, but without having a rigid sense, Coltrane and his band are these soldiers of swinging sounds that collaborate together to form a bond. This bond is the catalyst for some of the more adventurous moments in Blue Train as the noise cascades throughout the record.
Similar in instrumental preference, Blue Train is a jazz highlight that lives next to Kind Of Blue as a standout jazz piece that is instantly recognizable because of its prowess to the work. Coltrane instead has more of an upbeat nature to the somber reliance of Davis. Blue Train is a record that feels moody and focused on tone, but is derived from a place of excitement and hustle. Especially shown well on the following track, “Moment’s Notice”. The strides that Coltrane begins to take as he shows his musical athleticism in the way that he can control his breathing to hit consecutive notes in solo offshoots throughout. His play style and his overall charisma behind the instrument is breathtaking as he can catapult each track into new heights of experimentalism and potential capability.
With “I’m Old Fashioned”, Coltrane takes a new direction as he begins to play in an almost distraught movement that relies on his expertise to establish. With music, Coltrane is a glorious and vivid painter that can sculpt and mold synthetic worlds with the passion that rises through the smoke of his performance. Each track feels more important than the last as he continues to open the walls around him and showcase the true power of a saxophone. “I’m Old Fashioned” feels as rain that falls over the windowpane in a sunken day. Without a depressive state, “I’m Old Fashioned” is actually quite beautiful and brings back the memories of a yesteryear within the near eight-minute track.
The final installment shows Coltrane in a last, almost swan song style of fury. The progression stands throughout Blue Train and overall takes the method of being a rush of jazz fusion that borders on the unstructured sense of experimentalism. Coltrane is overall a heavyweight that continues to rise as a monument through the ages for his work. He was a powerhouse, and one of the first musicians that could light a room up with just the first moments of his performance.