A 1-LP mono pressing of the original album will be presented in a deluxe gatefold tip-on jacket, while the 2-LP stereo collection 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.
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. Blue Train: The Complete Masters will also be released as a 2-CD set and digital collection.
“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,” says Harley. “I consider these two new versions the definitive editions of this masterpiece performance by John Coltrane.”
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. But after kicking his habit, Coltrane returned with a fervor inspired by an extended summer residency with Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot Café.
By the end of the year, Coltrane had been rehired by Davis and had produced his first masterwork, an album that even he was deeply proud of. As Kahn recounts in his 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 catalog and he immediately responded: ‘Oh, I like Blue Train myself. It’s a good band on there, you know. It was a good recording.’”