This is the second of four albums that I bought when I first got interested in jazz that have stayed with me. I can’t remember why I chose this particular album. In i Zingari we briefly had a sax player and I may have heard him playing some Coltrane but I’m not really sure. Perhaps it was because Coltrane played on album #4 or it may just have been that he looks cool on the album cover. Indeed, his more famous albums are perhaps ‘My Favourite Things’ and Love Supreme’ but I chose this one. Whatever the reasons, I bought this in HMV, which at the time would have meant a trip to their London store in Oxford Street. Jazz was in a separate darkened room and I think there was some kind of initiation ceremony before you were allowed in. I see I paid £9.99, which was then a bargain price for CD’s as record companies tried their best to rip everyone off, including the musicians.

It came out in 1958, the year before album #4 which is probably the most famous of all jazz albums. Can you guess what it is yet? The opening track ‘Blue Train’ has a great hummable hook, which is pretty rare for some ‘modern’ jazz, and, to my ears anyway, sounds as though it could have been recorded yesterday. This was another revelation. I used to think jazz was all technique and was something to be admired (or at its most extreme – endured) but here was something from the classic era that I enjoyed. Well, blow me down! As well as Coltrane’s sax, I really like Lee Morgan’s trumpet playing. A lovely warm, soulful sound. 

This was one of Coltrane’s earliest albums as a band leader and over the next 10 years he recorded a number of albums in his musical and spiritual quest. Sometimes live he would be so into his playing that his solos could last half an hour. When asked why he went so long he said, “I didn’t know how to stop”, to which Miles Davis replied, “You could try taking your horn out of your mouth!”

Great album and well worth checking out even if you don’t like jazz.

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