The Jazz Train Collection for Kids

My boys are fascinated with trains. Dao loves trains when he was about one. He also has a huge influence on his younger brother and cousin. From The Polar Express to The Little Engine That Could to Thomas & Friends to Chuggington, the three of them could watch train movies all day day long. One of the songs that played the most in our minivan during Christmas travel was “The North Pole Express” by Nick Lowe. Seeing them loved that song so much, I came up with the idea of pulling together a jazz train collection for them to get them to listen to jazz. Last night, I came up with about forty songs in my collection and the one song that has been covered the most was Duke Ellington’s “Take the ‘A’ Train.” I narrowed down to just ten and the requirement had to be fun for the kids to enjoy. So here’s my final list:

  1. “Daybreak Express” by Duke Ellington: When it comes to train songs, this one comes to mind immediately. It’s a thrilling composition filled with the “Ellington Effects.”
  2. “Hobo, You Can’t Ride This Train”: Gotta love Pops’s gruff voice on this record.
  3. “All Aboard” by Wynton Marsalis: This is one of Dao’s favorite train tracks. It’s definitely an Ellington’s influence.
  4. “So Many Roads, So Many Trains” by Otis Rush: Gotta throw in a good old blues train into the mix.
  5. “Take The ‘A’ Train” by Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Although I have about ten versions of this tune ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Ben Webster, I have to go with the original record.
  6. “The North Pole Express” by Nick Lowe: This is the track that inspires this collection. The kids are already in love with it.
  7. “That Same Old Train” by Snooks Eaglin: Another blues train with the sensational bluesman Snooks Eaglin.
  8. “Honky Tonk Train Blues” by Meade “Lux” Lewis: Gotta have some boogie woogie in the mix as well. I hope it would inspire one of the boys to pick up the piano.
  9. “Mystery Train” by Junior Parker: The original blues tune that became a rockabilly standard.
  10. “Blue Train” by John Coltrane: A hard bop joint from Coltrane is more for me than the kids.