Voice Leading on "Freight Trane"

I just picked up Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane (1958) from Princeton Record Exchange today during a brief post-Banff splurge-fest, and on the car ride home noticed Tommy Flanagan playing a slick little voice-leading line behind Trane's last chorus. It had never occurred to me before that this kind of a symmetrical ascending-descending voice-leading line existed on a "bird blues," but it does, and it's pretty cool (although probably old news to a plenty of people)! Also the dominant in bar 2 is just the tritone substitution of the dominant in bar 6 — I never noticed that, either. Check it out:

Also, Tommy Flanagan wrote "Freight Trane." Maybe that explains why he was aware of such a brilliant little detail—that, or because he was just really killing (I'll put my money on the latter).


  1. Hi Kevin,

    I also got interested in this tune recently. Great alternative to always playing "Blues for Alice". And yes, nice background lines by Flanagan. One additional thought about why it might have occurred to Flanagan to play that descending line is that the changes at measures 6,7, and 8 are mostly played as a series of descending minor seventh chords (without the V).

    1. Another one I dig is "Chi-Chi," also in the same key as "Freight Trane."


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