Cincinnati Babyhead

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Jazz Record : John Coltrane – Giant Steps

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When I made the conscious decision to really dive into the jazz thing this was one of my first buys. I was listening to Bitches Brew, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Return To Forever,  and the like. You get the idea of the sound and style.

I caught wind of this album and I had heard of John Coltrane. The fact that he was a sax player helped ( Also I was just getting into the new CD format and someone told me this particular title sounded great).

This was a more traditional (no electricity) , hard blowing , swing, Bop, improv music. Coltrane and his session mates waste no time getting into this one. The title song opens the album and away we go. I just let the music take me to wherever the band went. All the players on the album take solo’s and are all top notch. Tommy Flannagan, Cedar Walton, Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers bass, Jimmy Cobb, Lex Humphries, Art Taylor drums. They know how to play.

I was a sax guy and listening to John Coltrane’s playing was a different experience. He has a great sound but it was his energy and power that got me. It’s relentless. Powerful stuff. This was my intro into his music and I don’t think I could have picked a better starting point. I like strapping in for a listen and this definitely was an intense listen.

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This was a ‘Giant Step’ into Coltrane’s music but also into this style. I wanted more of this kind of music. I was lucky to have this album introduced to me. I really got off on it and still do. It always sounds fresh to me. Naima’ is the only slow number (JC has a great album he did with Johnny Hartman if you like a softer cooler touch) on the album and in no way does it pale to the others, it’s just a change of pace. I’ve had hours of listening pleasure with this record (and countless other JC albums) and really get lost in the music.

This album is a favorite of mine for so many reasons. It swings, it’s hard and it introduced me to John Coltrane and his music. CB is probably the wrong guy to do justice on writing about this music but all I know is I dig it big time and it moves me. I would say this is a good place to start if you are thinking of taking a plunge into these waters.  But for “Gods sake” , be careful” you might not come back.

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51 comments on “Jazz Record : John Coltrane – Giant Steps

  1. hotfox63
    June 2, 2019

    This is a must if you like jazz. The solos are mind blowing. I am very impressed by this album.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 2, 2019

      It has been a staple in my listening since I stumbled onto it. The “solos are mind blowing”. Yes they are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        June 3, 2019

        Coltrane made two giant steps in 1959: playing on Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” and recording his first classic.He played flying clusters of notes that declared new possibilities for jazz improvisation and predicted the ferocious, harmonically open lyricism of his mid-sixties albums.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 3, 2019

        I was going to say all that but I knew you would come through for me Fox. It is a mind bending dose of heavy music played by musicians that are up to the task. Fantastic!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Vinyl Connection
    June 2, 2019

    Leading with a classic, there, CB. Do you reckon your enjoyment of the jazz-rock stuff helped in embracing Coltrane?

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 2, 2019

      Absolutely it did. Coltrane was a jump into a whole new kind of music for me. Something heavier, denser. More miles and experience on it. Maybe I’m getting carried away but it just felt (and still does) so confident. Like this is what we play for ourselves. All the players on the record are ace. This was like secret shit that I discovered.
      Also Bruce, on the reverse when I listen to the jazz/rock and that other stuff we like,Yes, Crimson etc I hear more and more the connection. The musicianship and musical ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim S.
    June 2, 2019

    An album I keep meaning to get around to posting about but never do. For the jazz enthusiast, a great listen. For the jazz improviser, a daunting challenge. Without going into all the technical detail – which frankly I half-understand – “Giant Steps” refers to the movement of the bassline per Coltrane. For the improviser, the chords and key changes fly by so fast that to this day it’s a bitch to play against and is the Waterloo that jazzers must face. Me I’ll stick with the blues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 2, 2019

      We probably come at it from a couple different places but we still get to the great music on the record. I always find this album (and music like it) a little exhausting in a good way. I really get caught up in it.
      Doc would you say there’s a kind of blues feel in the music? There at the core?

      Like

      • Jim S.
        June 2, 2019

        Always with jazz, yeah. There’s a lot of fierce playing on this one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 2, 2019

        “Fierce” is a great description. They must know when they are in the studio that things are clicking. Your hearing it in the moment.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 2, 2019

        I think if you get guys at that high a level in the room it can’t help but click.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 2, 2019

        “That high a level” is right. To be able to play and work off each other must be some kind of great feeling.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        June 2, 2019

        And the other side of it is if they can’t play at that level, the other guys will let them know it. “Whiplash” presented an over-the-top version of that but the essence of it had some truth,

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 2, 2019

        Oh yeah I’ve read some accounts about some down right nastiness. Charles Mingus comes to mind as far as what he expected.
        Thing is Doc the proof is in the listening on this album. Wynton Kelly is absolutely on point. Also we talked about this before, these guys gigged constantly. Confidence might have a little bit to do with it.
        (See you over at your “guitarist” take. First glance I would put lots of those guys on a list if I ever made one.)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, Another Blogger
    June 2, 2019

    I forget its title, but a previously unreleased Coltrane session came out about 8 months ago. Have you heard it? I’ve heard a couple of tracks and liked them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 2, 2019

      Yes I have Neil thanks. A couple of our friends on this thing we do alerted me to that. It’s just more of John doing the thing that he does. Which is not to be taken lightly if you love his music. It will be something that I will bracket the time for and get drained, in a good way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. J.
    June 3, 2019

    I still need to check this one out, CB. The only Coltrane album I’m truly daft about is A Love Supreme. I find the hard Bop stuff of Blue Train a bit too difficult to fall into, so have felt a bit reluctant to grab anything else (though I did listen to, and enjoy, the majority of that fairly recently released lost sessions thing).

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 3, 2019

      J you might find this a little “hard bop” like. This music just captured me, what can I say. I do get your reluctance. Maybe another time another day it will hit you differently. Maybe not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 4, 2019

        I still try Blue Train every few years or so for that very reason. Maybe one day it’ll hit me. I’ll add this to the list to try too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 4, 2019

        I’m trying it again right now as a matter of fact. I think I’m going to like it all over again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 4, 2019

        I’m lining up Coltrane for this evening. If I can’t find the groove, I’ll hit up A Love Supreme. That’s gotta be a good deal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 4, 2019

        ‘Love Supreme’ just ended on my music machine. I’ll leave you with this. Johnny Hartman is my Sinatra. Check out Coltrane/Hartman doing ‘Lush Life (or anything else), you will never be the same.
        I’m going to hit the hay. I’ll check in with you tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 4, 2019

        Coltrane and Hartman duly noted for some listening when I get home. I’ll report back…

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 4, 2019

        Get ready for hard blowing, muscular JC toning it down with an amazing singer in Johhny Hartman

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 5, 2019

        Incredible tune. Gonna check out the full album if it’s of that standard.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 5, 2019

        It is. The collaboration was out of left field when I heard it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 5, 2019

        Got it on just now. Really liking it… I’d never heard of the Hartman guy before, but he’s got the chops.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 5, 2019

        I don’t know the history of those two getting together but it is absolute magic to me. Never fails to make me think why a guy with a voice like Hartman never caught on bigger.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 6, 2019

        Sometimes that ‘moment’ just never hits for some folk, eh? Maybe too entrenched in jazz to make the step towards being a popstar (for want of a better word)?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 6, 2019

        Yeah,so many things go into it. I am going to find out more about Johnny’s story.
        I’m listening to Stephen Simmons Live in Germany. Liking it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 6, 2019

        Glad you got to Simmons. He’s released a lot over the years, so there’s loads to discover and the live stuff is definitely a good place to jump in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 6, 2019

        He brought Steve Earle to mind. I’ll listen to him some more.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 7, 2019

        Aye, I can see that. Gotta love music that wears its heart on its sleeve. I think they’re both like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 7, 2019

        After his set was over my music machine took me to similar artists and i swear a song came on that was Earle. No it was Simmons.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 7, 2019

        Similar voices and stories. The clearly hang around the same musical towns and know the same characters.

        You’ve put me right in the mood to listen to Guitar Town now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 7, 2019

        Yes they do. Guitar Town is a good one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        June 7, 2019

        It’s a helluva debut.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. 1537
    June 3, 2019

    Great stuff CB. I have this but I always find it a bit daunting and opt for Blue Trane instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. greenpete58
    June 3, 2019

    Wonderful record, and I especially love the beautiful “Naima,” which was written about his daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 3, 2019

      Yes that cut fits the record. Total change of pace but it works. Didn’t know about the daughter thing. Nice touch.

      Like

  8. BuriedOnMars
    June 10, 2019

    Jazz is too terrifying to jump into while I’m already trying to collect rock, metal, and blues. I’m just going to live vicariously through you instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      June 10, 2019

      A few of our friends on here have some good thoughts on certain jazz leanings. This Coltrane is a heavy dose of some hard jazz.
      Again knowing a bit of your leanings. Maybe a little Mahavishnu Orchestra. Try ‘Birds Of Fire’ It’s metal to me.
      Hey Mars, thanks for going on a Babyhead binge. Nice to hear from you. I peek in on you and your gals sites periodically to see what’s up. You know I’m a “Pickup” regular. Plus ever since you did the ‘Cape Fear’ take my gal and I have it inching to the top of our viewing pile. night. Good summer evening film. Thanks and talk later. CB

      Liked by 1 person

      • BuriedOnMars
        June 11, 2019

        No prob man! Your blog is helping me get through some monster 12hr shifts! I’ll put Mahavishnu on the recommendation pile.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        June 11, 2019

        That’s why CB was made. To help others.

        Like

  9. delsangron
    September 18, 2019

    Definitely one of the best jazz CDs I have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 18, 2019

      Like to see some of your others. Thanks for stopping by. Tried to go to your site. It was a no go.

      Like

  10. Francisco Bravo Cabrera
    October 3, 2019

    As amazing as “Ascension” an enigma and a spiritual work that truly transcends. Coltrane was a true artist

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on June 2, 2019 by in 1960 Album, Jazz, John Coltrane and tagged , , , , .

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