John Coltrane – Giant Steps: #502 of best 1,000 albums ever!

John Coltrane - Giant Steps

So why is John Coltrane’s Giant Steps on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

As my love and appreciation not only for music, but for different kinds of music has grown and expanded over the years, I’ve come to recognize that my ability to articulate that love and appreciation varies widely depending on the subject matter or genre.

While listening to (and hugely digging) John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe that’s just completely fine.

To take a step back and just as example, I feel a certain amount of expertise in discussing ska punk and ska punk bands. And alternatively, I could easily have a several hour conversation* about The Doors or The White Stripes or R.E.M or any number of other bands.

* Or right up to the point where the person I’m blathering to slowly backs away and exits the room!

But when it comes to jazz, I feel much more of a novice, and an often awestruck one, really.

Another question that enters my mind from time to time is: why do I consider John Coltrane my favorite jazz artist? It’s something that I feel pretty strongly about but am more fumble-y about when it comes to explaining why.

I do know the way that Coltrane and company make me feel on a superior album like Giant Steps. The title tack, “Giant Steps,” is wildly exciting and inventive, while “Naima” is atmospheric and quiet, making me feel like I’ve just wandered onto the set of a black and white film noir. And then “Spiral” sits somewhere in between, while “Syeeda’s Song Flute” is mysterious and beguiling.

Some stats & info about John Coltrane – Giant Steps

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Jazz, Instrumental
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #232
  • All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Giant Steps released? 1960
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #502 out of 1,000

John Coltrane’s Giant Steps on Spotify

What’s some interesting stuff about John Coltrane’s Giant Steps that most people don’t know?

In addition to Coltrane, Giant Steps features pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Art Taylor. This was the first time Coltrane had recorded with Flanagan, and the first time he had worked with Taylor since his time in the Miles Davis Quintet. The album also features two tracks with a different rhythm section, featuring Wynton Kelly on piano, and Jimmy Cobb on drums.

Despite Giant Steps’ status as a landmark album in jazz history, it was not an immediate commercial success. It sold modestly upon its initial release, and it was not until later in Coltrane’s career that it began to be recognized as a classic. However, the album’s influence on jazz musicians was immediate and profound, and it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.