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Jazz - Verschenen op 18 september 2020 | Rhino Atlantic
In the 60 years since John Coltrane's Giant Steps was released, the album has (justifiably) taken its place in the pantheon of classic albums. However, upon its release in early 1960, it was just the Atlantic Records debut of a hotshot saxophonist who had made a name for himself with Miles and Monk and recorded a few albums as a leader (and countless albums as a sideman) on Prestige. He was widely recognized as a technical talent, capable of dazzling and dizzying solos, but his compositional skills had only been showcased properly on one album: the (less justifiably) classic Blue Train, which was released in 1958 and was more clearly related to the hard bop of the day. Now, with a multi-year contract with Atlantic in hand, Coltrane was able to focus his label debut on his own material, positioning himself as a mature, confident, and singular artist, rather than as a gunslinger-for-hire. Everything on Giant Steps is a Coltrane composition, with a deep focus on harmony, phrasing, and melody. The album is intensely inventive from a structural standpoint—it's here that the "Giant Steps" chord progression (a.k.a. "the Coltrane Changes") makes its debut, as does the soon-to-be Coltrane standard "Naima," the themes of which would make their way into some of his most experimental and free-flowing future concerts. There's also plenty of blues ("Cousin Mary"), bouncing blasts of joyful lightness ("Syeeda's Song Flute"), and improvisational pyrotechnics ("Mr. P.C."), and the album swings so hard and is so emotionally evocative, it's easy for a listener to overlook just how epochal it was. This is the album that—along with Kind of Blue a year earlier—effectively closed the door on bebop. Coltrane's compositional approach here opened the door to his probing, analytical take on spiritual improvisation over the next few years. Of course, thanks to the luxury of having two days in the studio—far longer than a typical blowing session—he was able to get it right, resulting in a perfect album ... as well as several reels of outtakes. A raft of those appear on this 60th anniversary "Super Deluxe” edition—eight alternate takes and 20 additional outtakes (many of which are previously unreleased) flesh out this collection. Few of them provide much insight or improvement on the album versions and the inclusion of an alternate take of the Coltrane Jazz track "Like Sonny" (recorded contemporaneously with "Naima" on a different date than the rest of Giant Steps) is a bit of a stretch. This latest remastering, while spacious and alive, doesn't improve substantially upon Bill Inglot's 1998 remaster; in fact, one could argue that the 2014 mono remaster is an even more rewarding listening experience. But having a few "definitive" versions of a classic album—one that has been continuously in print and remastered/reissued/updated several times since its original release—is not a bad problem to have. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
Jazz in het magazine
- Diana Krall, as Elegant and Sophisticated as Ever!
- Artemis: The Jazz Goddesses
- Wallace Roney: a legend leaves us
- Avishai Cohen: This Time It's Different
- Here Comes Al Di Meola
- Shabaka Hutchings: past, present and future
- Bird flies away...
- McCoy Tyner: pianist supreme
- Charles Lloyd, still going strong
- Oded Tzur: intercontinental sax