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The album was recorded in the midst of Coltrane's residency at the Five Spot as a member of the Thelonious Monk quartet. The personnel includes Coltrane's Miles Davis bandmates, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums, both of whom had worked before with pianist Kenny Drew. Both trumpeter Lee Morgan and trombonist Curtis Fuller were up-and-coming jazz musicians, and both would be members of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, working together on several of Blakey's albums. All of the compositions were written by Coltrane, with the exception of the standard "I'm Old Fashioned". "Locomotion" is also a blues riff tune, in forty-four-bar form. During a 1960 interview, Coltrane described Blue Train as his favorite album of his own up to that point.