51. BLUE TRAIN by John Coltrane
While Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” is considered by most people as his best work ever, this 1958 album (recorded in 1957) is my personal favorite of his. Let’s face it, sometimes the more experimental or avant-garde jazz records can be a slog to get through - listening to these types of albums requires “work” to fully appreciate their greatness. When I just want to throw on some jazz and enjoy the melody and musicianship, “Blue Train” is my go to record - I’ve got the framed vinyl up on my wall to prove it! This was his first major album as band leader and also one of his own personal favorites of his career up to that point. If the record only consisted of the first two tracks (‘Blue Train’ and ‘Moment’s Notice’) I would have still been in heaven - I could listen to those two songs (with their blues backbones) back to back, over and over again. But, Coltrane gives us more - especially his interpretation of ‘I’m Old Fashioned’ - his most tender playing in my opinion. Lastly, I must mention that the band he assembled for this record is top notch - all great players in their own right, including a couple of alumni from one of Miles Davis’ ensembles.