Mono Mondays: John Coltrane, Giant Steps

Monday, August 25, 2014
Mono Mondays: John Coltrane, Giant Steps

From a historical standpoint, you can’t go wrong with this week’s Mono Monday release…unless, of course, you think you know something that the Library of Congress doesn’t. To our way of thinking, though, if John Coltrane’s Giant Steps is good enough for the National Recording Registry, then it’s good enough for us.

Released in 1960, Giant Steps may have been Coltrane’s fifth album as leader, but it was the first one that really made an impact within the jazz community. Whether that’s because it was also his first album for Atlantic, we couldn’t say, but the fact that it was released on a major label rather than Prestige, which was known almost entirely as a jazz label, probably didn’t hurt its chances at being heard by a larger audience.

There’s a big name every time you look at a different credit on Giant Steps: the album was produced by Nesuhi Ertegun, engineered by Tom Dowd, featured piano from Tommy Flanagsan and Wyton Kelly, drums by Art Taylor and Jimmy Cobb, and bass by Paul Chambers. In addition to the title track, which has come to be recognized as a jazz classic (you know, like basically every song on the freaking album), there was also a hint of jazz to come with the track “Naima,” which featured Kelly and Cobb, who – along with Chambers – were the predominant players on his next album, Coltrane Jazz.

Even if you’re not a jazz fan, this is one of those albums that practically transcends the genre, so if you’ve ever felt like you should at least have a token entry in the “jazz” section of your collection, this is a perfect way to take care of that omission.