Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1096

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Review

John Coltrane “Giant Steps” 60th Anniversary (Rhino)

John Coltrane: Giant Steps 60th Anniversary (Rhino) album review

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UK release date 18.09.2020

John Coltrane's seminal piece of work gets re-released on its
60th anniversary with a whole load of extras that should send jazz lovers into ecstatic realms of excitement as Rhino has remastered Giant Steps and all 28 of its surviving sessions and outtakes for two new collections.

It's an astounding body of work capturing Coltrane at his fittest (after the terrible drug problems that saw him sacked from the Miles Davis Quintet) However, the discipline of his compositions and their probing, angular harmonies resulted in significant artistic growth during this pivotal moment in jazz history and for this, he must be applauded.

The album features the peerless bass work of Paul Chambers, Tommy Flanagan on piano, and Art Taylor on drums on all songs except for “Naima,” which features Jimmy Cobb on drums and Wynton Kelly on piano. It’s extraordinary to note that JC's principal recording sessions started less than two weeks after finishing his work on Kind of Blue, which became the best-selling jazz album in history and put Coltrane on the map along with his "Blue Train".

Coltrane skills were that he could compose a tightly unified solo notable for both the abstract quality of its melodic motives and for the way he develops each motivic idea, As well as his signature "Sheets Of Sound" calling card he was so famous for.

It was was a veritable tour de force, showing off different aspects of his soloing from the relentlessly virtuosic (Giant Steps, Countdown) to the hugely melodic (Naima, Syeeda's Song Flute), to the barroom blues numbers (Cousin Mary, Mr PC), yielding several standards. The Outtakes will bend your brain too! This is essential listening in any jazzers book as the vanguard returns to reclaim his imperial throne.
Words Emrys Baird

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