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Giant Steps is John Coltrane's fifth studio album, released in 1960. The iconic record is considered to be his breakthrough as a band leader and is famous for the title track and one of his signature songs: "Naima". The album was inducted into the National Recording Registry in 2004. It was also listed at #103 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


Tracklist

Side One

  1. "Giant Steps" (4:43)
  2. "Cousin Mary" (5:45)
  3. "Countdown" (2:21)
  4. "Spiral" (5:56)

Side Two

  1. "Syeeda's Song Flute" (7:00)
  2. "Naima" (4:21)
  3. "Mr. P.C." (6:57)

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Personnel

  • John Coltrane: tenor saxophone
  • Tommy Flanagan: piano
  • Wynton Kelly: piano (on "Naima")
  • Paul Chambers: bass
  • Art Taylor: drums
  • Jimmy Cobb: drums (on "Naima")

Giant Tropes:

  • Face on the Cover: Coltrane's face in close-up.
  • Final Boss: Many jazz musicians regard the title track as this, for mainstream jazz in general; its chord changes come so thick and fast, and it modulates to a new key so rapidly and often, that on the original recording, you can clearly hear that the only musician who's completely mastered the tune is Coltrane himself. His pianist, the great Tommy Flanagan, is audibly struggling (although he went on to make a superb recording of it years later.) Any jazz musician who can improvise fluently over "Giant Steps" is a major badass.
  • Hitler Cam: The album cover shows Coltrane playing saxophone, shot from a lower angle.
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  • Instrumental: All tracks are instrumental.
  • Meaningful Titles: The album was indeed a giant step for Coltrane, as it broke him to the mainstream.
  • One-Man Song: "Mr. P.C."
  • One-Woman Song: "Cousin Mary" and "Naima", about his then-wife Juanita Naima Grubbs.
  • One-Word Title: "Spiral".
  • Record Producer: Nesuhi Ertegün.
  • Title Track: "Giant Steps".

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