Giant Steps album cover
Giant Steps

John Coltrane


In 1959, John Coltrane was still establishing himself after stretches with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, and a string of pretty straightforward bluesy hard bop records on his own. This fast, high-intensity showcase for his rich saxophone sound and his tricky-but-comprehensible compositions was exactly the breakthrough he needed. The title track became a piece students of the horn sought to master, while “Naima” proved he could write a beautiful ballad, “Mr. P.C.” was a hard-swinging hard bop burner, and “Countdown” was a frantic, pulse-pounding sax-drums duo. (The pianist and bassist were present, but unnecessary.)

Phil Freeman

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