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"Giant Steps" is a jazz composition by American saxophonist John Coltrane.[1][2] It was first recorded in 1959 and first appeared on the 1960 album entitled Giant Steps.[3]

"Giant Steps"
Composition by John Coltrane
from the album Giant Steps
Released1960 (1960)
RecordedMay 1959
GenreJazz, hard bop
Composer(s)John Coltrane
Producer(s)Nesuhi Ertegün



John Coltrane named "Giant Steps" after its bass line. He stated that "the bass line is kind of a loping one. It goes from minor thirds to fourths, kind of a lop-sided pattern in contrast to moving strictly in fourths or in half-steps. This was done after his studies on the circle of fifths. This song is a prominent use of the Coltrane changes."[1]

It took two recording sessions two months apart before John Coltrane was willing to release his original rendition of "Giant Steps" to the public.[3] He was to said to have worked out in advance melodic patterns which he deployed during his recording.[4]

Musical characteristcsEdit

From beginning to end, "Giant Steps" follows alternating modulations of major third and augmented fifth intervals. Its structure primarily contains IIVI harmonic progressions (often with chord substitutions) circulating in thirds. [3] The chords and patterns in "Giant Steps" reflect those found in Coltrane's composition entitled "Central Park West" and his version of the Gershwins' song, "But Not For Me."[4]

"Giant Steps" is usually played in a 'fast swing' style.[5]

Notable recordingsEdit


  1. ^ a b Hentoff, Nat. "Giant Steps Liner Notes". Album Liner Notes. Atlantic Studios. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Tyle, Chris. "Giant Steps". Jazz Standards. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Whaley, Preston (2004). Blows Like A Horn: Beat Writing, Jazz, Style, And Markets In The Transformation Of U.S. Culture (Online-Ausg. ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. pp. 171–174. ISBN 9780674013117. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Kofsky, Frank (1998). John Coltrane And The Jazz Revolution Of The 1960's (The expanded and rev. 2 ed.). New York: Pathfinder. pp. 262–264, 286–287. ISBN 9780873488570. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Taylor, Mark; Coltrane, John (2002). 10 John Coltrane Classics. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. p. 8. ISBN 0634053590. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Hawtin, Steve. "Albums from the Year 1959". tsort - The World's Music Charts. Retrieved April 9, 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit