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#102 - Giant Steps (John Coltrane)

by 14783513 |

I struggled with this album, and I've been listening to it off and on for a few weeks now. Finally, I just decided to write about it. Giant Steps is considered to be a jazz standard and is especially well known for being difficult to improvise over the chord progressions of the same name. Coltrane released this album in January 1960 and was well known for improvising songs on recordings.  My understanding is that "Giant Steps" is no different. In fact, according to some of my research online, there are other cuts from the recording sessions that you can hear the other musicians struggling to improvise with Coltrane's speed and progression. As an album, I find Giant Steps to be very similar in tonality. I'm not sure if its just my lack of education in this style of jazz, but for me, it has a similar sound and feeling throughout much of the album. And that is, by no means, my attempt at dismissing the album - its completely impressive to listen to someone play sax that fast and with such unique chord changes. Now, I love listening to the title track on the album. I love the smoothness of the intro and outro. The intro provides a base from which the entire track expands into a seemingly chaotic but also precise expression. And then I love that the whole song gets wrapped up as he revisits the opening chord progressions during the outro. To me, Coltrane's saxophone takes on a different sound than any other jazz music I've really heard. The harmonies and intervals between notes is unique. The piano underscoring provides a solid and familiar sound to tie the sax harmonies to, but it is really original compared to the other jazz I've listened to. Honestly though, I don't know what else to say about this album. Clearly, Coltrane is incredibly talented and demonstrates skill and a musical sense that is unique from other musicians at the time. Still, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this album, and about Coltrane's career. His name is known, even if someone doesn't recognize his music. That's impressive! I will gladly listen to his album now, and I am starting to enjoy it more and more, especially a few tracks. Still, I can't listen to this style of jazz non-stop. It can get a bit monotonous to me. Track Listing Side One
  1. Giant Steps
  2. Cousin Mary
  3. Countdown
  4. Spiral
Side Two
  1. Syeeda's Song Fute
  2. Naima
  3. Mr. P.C.

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