Sunday, December 6, 2009

John Coltrane - Giant Steps (1960) (320)

Giant Steps might be the best showcase for Coltrane's virtuosity and incredible harmonic vocabulary. Trane burns through the title track, a piece with a chord progression so complex that it has become infamous over the years, and since dubbed "Coltrane changes". His solo in "Giant Steps" seems effortless despite the difficult progression and fast tempo. Contrast this with his playing in "Naima", a ballad Trane wrote for his first wife, Juanita Naima (he married Alice in the mid-60's). The recording sessions of Giant Steps span a couple months of 1959, and Coltrane uses several different lineups.


1. Giant Steps
2. Cousin Mary
3. Countdown
4. Spiral
5. Syeeda's Song Flute
6. Naima
7. Mr. P.C.
8. Giant Steps (Alternate Version 1)
9. Naima (Alternate Version 1)
10. Cousin Mary (Alternate Take)
11. Countdown (Alternate Take)
12. Syeeda's Song Flute (Alternate Take)
13. Giant Steps (Alternate Version 2)
14. Naima (Alternate Version 2)
15. Giant Steps (Alternate Take)



Recorded May 4 and May 5, 1959: main take tracks 1–5, 7; alternative take tracks 10–12, and additional alternative track 15.

John Coltrane — tenor saxophone
Tommy Flanagan — piano
Paul Chambers — bass
Art Taylor — drums

Recorded December 2, 1959: main take track 6

Wynton Kelly — piano
Jimmy Cobb — drums

Recorded April 1 (March 26 according to Rhino liner notes) 1959: alternative tracks 8 and 9, and additional alternative tracks 13 and 14

Cedar Walton — piano
Lex Humphries — drums

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