First jazz experience: A novice review of the John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

The+cover+of+Giant+Steps+by+John+Coltrane.++Released+January+of+1960+7+years+before+his+death+from+liver+cancer+inJuly+17+1967.++Coltrane+is+the+grand+uncle+of+multi-instrumentalist+producer+flying+lotus.%2F%2FCourtesy+of+Amazon.com
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First jazz experience: A novice review of the John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

The cover of Giant Steps by John Coltrane.  Released January of 1960 7 years before his death from liver cancer inJuly 17 1967.  Coltrane is the grand uncle of multi-instrumentalist producer flying lotus.//Courtesy of Amazon.com

The cover of Giant Steps by John Coltrane. Released January of 1960 7 years before his death from liver cancer inJuly 17 1967. Coltrane is the grand uncle of multi-instrumentalist producer flying lotus.//Courtesy of Amazon.com

The cover of Giant Steps by John Coltrane. Released January of 1960 7 years before his death from liver cancer inJuly 17 1967. Coltrane is the grand uncle of multi-instrumentalist producer flying lotus.//Courtesy of Amazon.com

The cover of Giant Steps by John Coltrane. Released January of 1960 7 years before his death from liver cancer inJuly 17 1967. Coltrane is the grand uncle of multi-instrumentalist producer flying lotus.//Courtesy of Amazon.com

Sunjin Yun, Staff Writer

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Personally, I am very new to jazz. Giant Steps by John Coltrane is actually the first jazz album I have ever listened to. The first reaction to this album is that the musical instruments are forming a very good harmony all together. I hear the saxophones the most because they make a strong melodic line; the track “Naima” shows the importance of the saxophone section. The horn section sounds like it is leading the entire melody, for example “Naima” sounds more relaxing, compared to the other tracks which are more energetic.

The most impressive thing was that drums actually play an important role in the music. Drums make unique beats which are different from those of rock songs which seem to be the closest thing I’ve herd to jazz but is the doppelgänger to the genre, being that rock drums are more confrontational. Usually drums sound strong in rock music, while jazz drums sound smooth on tracks of Giant Steps.

Specifically on the title track; “Giant Steps”,the drums make an interesting rhythm when saxophones are not played at the three minute mark. In comparison to a rock band, drum solos are rare. On this album it seems that things can just stop, leaving the drums to play alone. They regularly make me focus on drum sounds even when the other instruments are predominantly active.

The piano on this album supports other melodic instruments well. When the saxophone section was temporarily on pause, the piano section took over the main melody. The best track where piano takes a good switch-up from the saxophones is “Spiral”. Personally, I prefer piano sounds over the horn because the saxophone, when hitting the high notes, sounds like a loud car horn to me.

I did not want to listen to just the saxophone, so when the piano took the melody over, I felt more relaxed. However, the track that stood out to me was the title song “Giant Steps”, because it made a good combination of the advantages that were mentioned; the saxophone made a strong melody, the piano taking over the melody in a relaxing sense, and the drums playing solo.

Overall, Giant Steps is an album with a strong representation of strengths of Jazz. It was good enough to open up my first experience to jazz.

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