Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6: John Coltrane, "Giant Steps"

Artist: John Coltrane
Album: Giant Steps
Year: 1959
Label: Atlantic

Giant Steps marked John Coltrane's debut with Atlantic records, as well as a turning point in his career. Having quite literally just finished working on Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue (the sessions were less than 3 weeks apart), Coltrane's Giant Steps is where he truly begins to redefine the jazz style.

On all seven tracks found on Giant Steps, Coltrane's structure centers around tightly weaved riffs and patterns while leaving the door open for extended exploration in live environments. His backing band play brilliantly throughout, yet it is clear they understand that they are simply there to support while Coltrane pushes into uncharted territory.

Permanently cementing what are now known as "Coltrane changes" (a term for harmonic progression within a piece of music) as well as showing his final movement from "bebop" to a more modal jazz, Giant Steps is truly a pivotal jazz record.

Nearly every song on Giant Steps has become a "jazz standard" since it's release at the end of 1959. So extraordinary is this album, that, in 2004, the record was chosen as one of the first 50 records to be added into the Library Of Congress' National Recording Registry.

John Coltrane will always stand high above the jazz world, as well as the music world overall. His innovation, courage, and undeniable soul make him a true icon among the great musicans throughout history. While most people looking to discover Coltrane find Blue Train as their introductory album. However, Giant Steps provides a more accurate representation of the man who is called Saint Coltrane.

Standout tracks: Every track! "Mr. P.C." and "Spiral" are personal favorites.

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