John Coltrane – Giant Steps (45 RPM 180 Gram Vinyl)

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LabelAnalogue Productions (Atlantic 75 Series)
Catalogue numberAAPA 010-45
GenreJazz
Number of Discs2
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Released in 1960, Giant Steps was a watershed album for John Coltrane, solidifying the saxophone legend’s reputation as one of the most influential and innovative musicians in jazz history, as well as delivering jazz to an increasingly mainstream audience, while garnering significant critical acclaim.

Although this was John Coltrane’s debut for Atlantic, he was concurrently performing and recording with Miles Davis. Within the space of less than three weeks, Coltrane would complete his work with Davis and company on another genre-defining disc, Kind of Blue, before commencing his efforts on this one.

Coltrane (tenor sax) is flanked here by essentially two different trios. Recording commenced in early May of 1959 with a pair of sessions that featured Tommy Flanagan (piano) and Art Taylor (drums), as well as Paul Chambers — who was the only bandmember other than Coltrane to have performed on every date. When recording resumed in December of that year, Wynton Kelly (piano) and Jimmy Cobb (drums) were instated — replicating the alternate non-Bill Evans lineup featured on “Freddie the Freeloader” on Kind of Blue, sans Miles Davis of course. At the heart of these recordings, however, is the laser-beam focus of Coltrane’s tenor solos.

All seven pieces issued on the original Giant Steps are Coltrane compositions. He was, in essence, beginning to rewrite the jazz canon with material that would be centered on solos — enabling the solo to become infinitely more compelling. This would culminate in a frenetic performance style using melodic phrasing that noted jazz journalist Ira Gitler accurately dubbed “sheets of sound.”

The Giant Steps chord progression consists of a distinctive set of chords that create key centers a major third apart. Jazz musicians ever since have used it as a practice piece, its difficult chord changes presenting a “kind of ultimate harmonic challenge”, and serving as a gateway into modern jazz improvisation. Several pieces on this album went on to become jazz standards, most prominently “Naima” and “Giant Steps.”

The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested “Core Collection” calling it “Trane’s first genuinely iconic record.” In 2003, the album was ranked No. 102 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, 103 in a 2012 revised list, and 232 in a 2020 revised list.

Undeniable music perfection deserves definitive sound and top-notch packaging. This reissue was mastered directly from the original master tape by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound and cut at 45 RPM. Pressed at Quality Record Pressings, and housed in tip-on old style gatefold double pocket jackets with film lamination by Stoughton Printing.

Overall, Giant Steps is not only a critical triumph but also a defining moment in John Coltrane’s career. Its innovative compositions, masterful performances, and profound influence on jazz make it an essential entry in Coltrane’s discography and a timeless masterpiece in the history of the genre.

Additional information

Label

Analogue Productions (Atlantic 75 Series)

Catalog number

AAPA 010-45

Genre

Jazz

Category

45 RPM Vinyl Record

No. of Discs

2

Streetdate

US March 8th 2024

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Side 1

  • Giant Steps
  • Cousin Mary

Side 2

  • Countdown
  • Spiral

Side 3

  • Syeeda’s Song Flute

Side D

  • Naima
  • Mr. P.C.