Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Killer Opening Songs (Giant Steps by John Coltrane)


Intensity, high-tempo and rhythmic mastery. Just three of the many words that could apply to John Coltrane’s Killer Opening Song “Giant Steps”, from the same-titled album. If smoothness and subtlety were the mots d’ordre on Blue Note’s release Blue Train, then Atlantic Record’s offering Giant Stepswere chaos and improvisation. Beautiful chaos and improvisation, K.O.S. hastens to add.

In terms of tenor solo statements, Giant Steps was outstanding. From the outset there was a clear intention from John Coltrane to break away from the foot-tapping sound he had helped create on Miles Davis’ timeless classic Kind of Blue. Saxophone, double-bass, piano and drums kick off together. Rather than a mere time-keeping ensemble piece, Paul Chambers’ bass acts as another level of tonal exploration. This serves both pianist and saxophonist well as their sound swells to unreal levels.

The Killer Opening Song is the gateway to other six musical gems such as Countdown’s blistering, sonic explosion, swinging Syeeda’s Song Flute and self-searching, simple and yet emblematic Naima.

Whereas Blue Train was a sort of bridge between the recent Charlie Parker-driven bebop sound and the smoother Miles Davis’ approach, Giant Steps was the sign of things to come in jazz. More experimental and more outré, this was Coltrane at his peak as a bandleader and composer. Once again, all this thanks to the Killer Opening Song.



© 2016

Next Post: “Thoughts in Progress”, to be published on Saturday 22nd October at 6pm (GMT)

12 comments:

  1. Oh joy - isn't it wonderful when music reaches places that have no words!

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  2. I definitely echo Jo's comment! :)

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  3. I know it's a flow, an intuitive and mindless experience that one "becomes" eventually. But my god, the memory that goes into the accomplishment is mind blowing to me!

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  4. Well-l-l-l-l, you know me, CiL .... it takes stuff like Bach or Boston or Blackmore to get me dancing in my chair ....

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  5. Yes, great music! Have you ever listened to Candy Dulfer (jazz saxophonist)? She is outstanding!

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  6. My taste in music depends on what is being broadcast at that moment in time. In other words, love it all.

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  7. Sure can let the tune flow indeed, as the opening takes seed.

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  8. strange music you choose for today :)

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  9. Nice! I like the albums where he plays with Miles Davis.

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  10. I'm a fan of many kinds of music, but the sax is, without a doubt, my favorite instrument. It wails and sings and touches my heart and soul like few other instruments can. (But I must confess to being highly susceptible to music in general.)

    Have a super music-filled weekend.

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