Thesis Title

Following in Giant Steps

Date of Graduation

Fall 2008

Degree

Master of Music

Department

Music

Committee Chair

Michael Murray

Keywords

giant steps, John Coltrane, saxophone, jazz, music theory

Subject Categories

Music

Abstract

It is safe to say that John Coltrane's composition and improvisational solos on Giant Steps have had a profound influence on the jazz community as a whole, but particularly saxophonists. Recorded on 26 March 1959 (not 1 April 1959 as has been mistakenly reported before) Coltrane's improvisational solos on Giant Steps explore new voice-leadings and harmonic motion, while maintaining the swing style of his predecessors. This paper will look into the master takes of John Coltrane's solos on Giant Steps and attempt to break them down into their original melodic ideas. During the analytical process the author will not only look into the history of the composition and recording, but point to the harmonic structure and voice-leadings chosen by Coltrane in his solos. In an attempt to show the influence that Giant Steps has had on the jazz community, the author will compare the solos of Coltrane to his contemporaries, Kenny Garrett and Michael Brecker by analyzing and breaking down their solos on John Coltrane's Giant Steps.

Copyright

© T. Joel Griffin

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