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The Shadow of Coltrane: 60 Years of Giant Steps

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Playlist: The Shadow of Coltrane: 60 Years of Giant Steps

by Qobuz US

  • 12 tracks - 01h11m

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John Coltrane's Giant Steps arrived on the doorstep of a fresh, sunny new decade (February 1960 to be exact)—space-age jazz for a new generation ready to embrace the changes ahead. Little did we know how much would change, nor how quickly, in the ten years to come. In many ways, the world is still dealing with the harsh divisions and hard questions th...

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The Shadow of Coltrane: 60 Years of Giant Steps

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Title Artist Album Duration

TOM DOWD, Engineer - Nesuhi Ertegun, Producer - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, Writer, MainArtist - Phil Iehle, Engineer - Paul Chambers, Upright Bass - Art Taylor, Drums - Tommy Flanagan, Piano

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. Manufactured for & Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 1960 Atlantic Recording Corporation. Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

2
Cousin Mary
Archie Shepp Four For Trane 00:07:13

John Coltrane, Composer - Rudy Van Gelder, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Reggie Workman, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - George Douglas, Producer - Bob Thiele, Producer - Roswell Rudd, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Archie Shepp, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Alan Shorter, Flugelhorn, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Moffett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - John Tchicai, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1964 GRP Records Inc.

3
Spiral
Lakecia Benjamin Pursuance : The Coltranes 00:05:43

John Coltrane, Composer - Steve Wilson, FeaturedArtist - Marcus Gilmore, FeaturedArtist - Lakecia Benjamin, MainArtist

2020 Ropeadope

TOM DOWD, Engineer - Nesuhi Ertegun, Producer - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, Writer, MainArtist - Phil Iehle, Engineer - Paul Chambers, Upright Bass - Wynton Kelly, Piano - Jimmy Cobb, Drums

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. Manufactured for & Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 1960 Atlantic Recording Corporation. Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

5
Never Let Me Go
Melissa Aldana Visions 00:06:29

Jay Livingston, Composer - Ray Evans, Composer - Jure Pukl, Producer - Melissa Aldana, Producer, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Melissa Aldana Under Exclusive License to Motema Music LLC (P) 2019 Melissa Aldana Under Exclusive License to Motema Music LLC

6
Teach Me How To Be Vulnerable
Shabaka and the Ancestors We Are Sent Here By History 00:02:45

Guy Davie, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Murray Anderson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Shabaka Hutchings, Composer, Producer, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Siyabonga Mthembu, Author - Dilip Harris, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Thandi Ntuli, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Shabaka and the Ancestors, MainArtist - Jethro Harris, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Auret, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

An Impulse! Records release; ℗ 2020 UMG Recordings, Inc.

TOM DOWD, Engineer - Nesuhi Ertegun, Producer - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, Writer, MainArtist - Phil Iehle, Engineer - Paul Chambers, Upright Bass - Art Taylor, Drums - Tommy Flanagan, Piano

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. Manufactured for & Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 1960 Atlantic Recording Corporation. Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

8
Visions
Melissa Aldana Visions 00:08:13

Jure Pukl, Producer - Melissa Aldana, Composer, Producer, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Melissa Aldana Under Exclusive License to Motema Music LLC (P) 2019 Melissa Aldana Under Exclusive License to Motema Music LLC

9
Go Down Moses (Let My People Go)
Archie Shepp I Didn't Know About You 00:11:02

Copyright Control, Composer - Archie Shepp Quartet, MainArtist

(C) 1991 Timeless Records (P) 1991 Timeless Records

TOM DOWD, Engineer - Nesuhi Ertegun, Producer - John Coltrane, Tenor Saxophone, Writer, MainArtist - Phil Iehle, Engineer - Paul Chambers, Upright Bass - Art Taylor, Drums - Tommy Flanagan, Piano

© 2020 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. All Rights Reserved. Manufactured for & Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company. ℗ 1960 Atlantic Recording Corporation. Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.

11
My Queen Is Harriet Tubman
Sons Of Kemet Your Queen Is A Reptile 00:05:40

Tom Skinner, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Eddie Hick, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Shabaka Hutchings, Producer, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sons Of Kemet, MainArtist - Dilip Harris, Producer, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Theon Cross, Tuba, AssociatedPerformer - Moses Boyd, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Verve Label Group, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Prema
Lakecia Benjamin Pursuance : The Coltranes 00:06:02

Alice Coltrane, Composer - Lakecia Benjamin, MainArtist

2020 Ropeadope

About Playlist

John Coltrane's Giant Steps arrived on the doorstep of a fresh, sunny new decade (February 1960 to be exact)—space-age jazz for a new generation ready to embrace the changes ahead. Little did we know how much would change, nor how quickly, in the ten years to come. In many ways, the world is still dealing with the harsh divisions and hard questions that the '60s faced head-on, including the impact of one saxophonist and what was his breakthrough album.

At the outset of 1960, Coltrane had been on the scene for a few years. He was known primarily as a sideman, a member of the jazz rank and file, and for setting ears on fire and heads atilt with a sound that many considered a little too unpolished. His sound was certainly not the polite jazz of the 1940s and '50s; it would lead the way forward, and be linked to the political and cultural tumults ahead. Giant Steps was Atlantic Records' first release on the 33-year old saxophonist; it is now seen as a point of arrival for Coltrane as a fully developed, self-sufficient player and composer. Its best-known compositions—"Naima," "Mr. P.C.," "Cousin Mary," "Countdown," and of course the title track—serve as jazz liturgy today. Young musicians are obliged to listen and know them, chapter and verse. That certain tracks—"Giant Steps" and "Countdown" especially—still scare students and veterans alike says much of Coltrane's unrelenting need to challenge himself. To this day, it remains a healthy seller in physical or digital formats, consistently lauded in music histories, inserted in "greatest albums" lists, and has been Hall-of-Famed by such institutions as the Library of Congress and the Recording Academy.

Sixty years on, Giant Steps continues to inspire generations of players, including four saxophonists—from various generations and geographic locales—whose music reflects and often refracts Coltrane's sound and inspiration. Their music is woven into this playlist along with anthemic tracks from Coltrane's 1960 masterpiece.

John Coltrane - "Giant Steps"
The tune that still serves as the test for any improvising musician, because of the dexterity and information the tune demands as its unusual harmonic sequence—"the changes"—travels by. It's the bebop esthetic in top-gear, yet without sacrificing a lilting, melodic sensibility—a Coltrane trademark: balancing the science of the music with its soul and magic.

Archie Shepp - "Cousin Mary"
In 1964, Shepp—who knew Coltrane from their shared hometown of Philadelphia—asked him to speak to his producer about the idea of a recording contract. The result was Four for Trane, Shepp's debut on Impulse: a glowing tribute to Coltrane's growing stature as a composer. Two of the tracks were drawn from Giant Steps, including this one—rearranged radically and with Coltrane's approval.

Lakecia Benjamin - "Spiral"
In 2020, Benjamin released her own tribute to not one Coltrane, but two; Pursuance celebrates both John and his multi-instrumentalist wife Alice. Her version of "Spiral"—a Giant Steps deep track—offers an energetic, twin-alto take on the tune, with a noticeably Latin feel accented by the dexterous Marcus Gilmore on a dry snare, and Steve Wilson handling the fleet, opening solo.

John Coltrane - "Naima"
Easily one of the most beautiful love ballads in the jazz canon doubles as a deeply meditative—almost prayer-like—piece, a forerunner to the more spiritual priority of Coltrane's music that would soon come. Named for his first wife, it ends with an ascending figure that proceeds upwards and then dissipates into thin air. "That very church-like ending makes 'Naima' my favorite ballad ever written," saxophonist Dave Liebman has said.

Melissa Aldana - "Never Let Me Go"
Melissa Aldana—born in Santiago, Chile—has a sound that may bow more to the pull of Sonny Rollins, yet she confesses that she has often returned to Giant Steps, because "I never stop learning from it…there's always some new information I hear." Like Coltrane, Aldana has a broad, beautiful tone that she generously employs on downtempo standards, caressing the melody, as on this track from her album Visions.

Shabaka Hutchings (as Shabaka and the Ancestors) - "Teach Me How To Be Vulnerable"
Shabaka—from Birmingham, UK—is currently drawing from the same well that has powered so many saxophonists to this day: a sound associated with Coltrane that reflected the political outrage and communal spirit of the 1960s. Shabaka's various groups all pull from that sense of social service (a duty of which Coltrane often spoke) while his saxophone bristles with an unbridled charge, or, in this case, a delicate, soul-stirring feel and spiritual air.

John Coltrane - "Mr. PC"
Most of the tracks on Giant Steps celebrated individuals near and important to him: his Cousin Mary, his wife Naima, and his stepdaughter Syeeda. "Mr. P.C."—an original blues that would have easily fit into the setlists of the big bands he came up playing in—referenced Paul Chambers, the tall, reliable bassist he first met playing in Miles Davis's great quintet of the 1950s.

Melissa Aldana - "Visions"
The title track of Aldana's critically hailed album from 2019 is a pleasing example of the same kind of balance Coltrane excelled at—matching musical information and sophistication, with melodic accessibility. Its appeal is as much in its feel and sway, as in how smart as it sounds. That's Joel Ross on vibes, Sam Harris on piano, Tommy Crane on drums, and fellow Chilean Pablo Menares on bass.

Archie Shepp - "Go Down Moses"
Coltrane's sense of spirituality—and of music—was born in his early days attending the black church of High Point, North Carolina where he grew up. His familiarity with the hymns and spirituals of his childhood influenced him to write a number of memorable melodies; his friend and sometime student shared in that experience, attending and absorbing the church music of Florida. In 1978, Shepp revisited those tunes on an evocative, duet album with pianist Horace Parlan.

John Coltrane - "Countdown"
"Countdown" is both a dizzying slalom down a mountainside, and a proto-avant-garde, drums-and-saxophone matchup—of which there weren't many. The minute-long drum solo that is its first half was an entirely radical idea in 1960, allowing so much undefined space to pure rhythm. It's an idea that stayed with Coltrane, portending the extended blues "Chasin the Trane" from his 1962 "Live" at the Village Vanguard album (primarily horn and drums) and his Interstellar Space set (recorded in 1967), featuring only himself and drummer Rashied Ali.

Shabaka Hutchings (as Sons of Kemet) - "My Queen is Harriet Tubman"
The Sons of Kemet is a lineup created with the idea of power and drumlines—saxophone, tuba, and two drummers. That's it. The result, especially on their Impulse label debut, Your Queen is a Reptile, is an urgent mix of Caribbean dance and parade rhythms, Shabaka's tenor soaring above the fray, guttural and demonstrative, like a Sunday preacher in pure, sweaty paroxysm. This track was written, he has said, to capture the desperation of Tubman's first flight from slavery.

Lakecia Benjamin - "Prema"
Benjamin's version of Alice Coltrane's "Prema" points to the path Coltrane's widow followed after his demise in 1967, both as a musical visionary (creating a an entirely singular sound blending jazz, gospel and Indian music) and as a spiritual leader (establishing an ashram in southern California.) How each musician has filtered Coltrane's overwhelming influence is a test of their ability to maintain their individuality while channeling such an awe-inspiring force; Alice Coltrane's musical legacy, as Benjamin shows, is entirely her own. © Ashley Kahn/Qobuz

Ashley Kahn is a Grammy®-winning American music historian, and author of A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album.

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