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Again, I'm sorry that you disagree with me.
No worries, Bloo Dog. We all have our own subjective opinions. As I mentioned, what I wrote was conjecture. And as to whether or not we find various live performances to be superior to the studio recorded versions, or vice versa, that's largely subjective. I'm only stating the fact that I've heard a lot of live (in person, not just live recordings) performances to be more moving and innovative in many cases than the recorded versions of the same tunes. Maybe it was because I was there in the audience hearing it while it was happening. That is definitely a different experience than listening to a recording. Of course for any given musician, no matter how great they are, there will be off nights as well as nights when they are 'on fire.' So it's hard to generalize about these things, and I probably was over generalizing a bit.

Still, I'm just reporting my experience over the years, not trying to disagree with anyone.
 

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I wonder if Trane just wrote that tune as part of his on-going study process for that time period and by the time he had his first quartet
post-Miles..was done with the tune itself.
He still used parts of that cycle in his actual improvisations going into 1960, and 61 .

In terms of Angst and tension .. that could be heard post-Giant Steps if you hear things that way .
I hear pure exuberance and molten fire, among other descriptors
Trane was one of the most emotive saxophonists we've had .
Yes, Very much what I was getting at.
Yes, Trane was always expressive no matter what he played. The angst and tension I was getting at was more like the, "I don't want to play chord changes anymore, so I'll create my own, blow everyone up, then play what I hear instead of everyone else's idea of what the jazz box is supposed to be." I hear anger, frustration, and an artist struggling to find his real voice for most of Trane's career.
 

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Still, I'm just reporting my experience over the years, not trying to disagree with anyone.
This disagreement/difference of opinion is what keeps his playing alive! At this point, no one will understand him. The best that we'll get are opinions of those who knew him and played with him.

Re:Coltrane and Rollins: It was one of the Heath brothers (Percy?) who compared Rollins and Coltrane. He said that Coltrane approached a tune as a problem to be solved while Rollins strived to own the tune in improv. I agree with this comparison.

In the recording that Jazzbluescat produced, I can hear Rollins evoking the beginning of first chorus of the first four bars of St. Thomas from Saxophone Colossus. He does it at the beginning of at least three choruses of his improv.

There's a huge difference between live performance and studio performance. ESPECIALLY NOW!
 

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The more I understand the person John Coltrane, the more I see Giant Steps as a breaking of shackles. I've made the assertion that JC made Giant Steps to prove (mostly to himself) that he could play changes, all of them...to the extent of creating his own template. I find angst and tension with a boxed in feel whenever I listen to Trane's playing before Giant Steps. I think he made Giant Steps out of frustration and to prove a point. I don't enjoy hearing anyone play Giant Steps live and I've heard many do it. I wish it weren't such a litmus test.
Oh, about the number of takes...I think Tommy Flanagan et al were seeing it for the first time.
I think that you nailed those sessions for sure.
 

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I have had two teachers in the past tell me that Coltrane never intended to publish Giant Steps. At the time, he was exploring Tonic movement by thirds (chromatic mediants) and wrote the tune as an exploration of that concept. When he was recording that day, he recorded Giant Steps as an experiment for him to go back and listen to, but the studio told him that they were putting it on the album. Coltrane was upset, and was later interviewed and said that he did not intend for "Giant Steps" to make it out into the world, and that he considered it to be an exercise, not a tune.

I believe the story for a few reasons. For one, he had to call up Tommy Flanagan on the day of the session because his scheduled piano player wasn't willing to record the changes to Giant Steps without time to shed them. For those who didn't know, that explains Tommy Flanagans solo on that tune....The other reason is that "Giant Steps" is a very pretentious title for Coltrane.
 

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I have had two teachers in the past tell me that Coltrane never intended to publish Giant Steps. At the time, he was exploring Tonic movement by thirds (chromatic mediants) and wrote the tune as an exploration of that concept. When he was recording that day, he recorded Giant Steps as an experiment for him to go back and listen to, but the studio told him that they were putting it on the album. Coltrane was upset, and was later interviewed and said that he did not intend for "Giant Steps" to make it out into the world, and that he considered it to be an exercise, not a tune.

I believe the story for a few reasons. For one, he had to call up Tommy Flanagan on the day of the session because his scheduled piano player wasn't willing to record the changes to Giant Steps without time to shed them. For those who didn't know, that explains Tommy Flanagans solo on that tune....The other reason is that "Giant Steps" is a very pretentious title for Coltrane.
This makes a lot of sense and rings true to me. Of course there's no way to know for certain since Coltrane is not around to verify or deny it, unfortunately. But the tune does sound a lot like an exercise; although an exercise in Coltrane's hands can sound very musical.

I saw a youtube clip of one of Barry Harris's classes and he stated he never liked 'Giant Steps' and so he never really learned it. Maybe he heard it as too much of an 'exercise', which could explain his dislike for the tune.

I do like the sound of movement in thirds, but maybe it was taken to an extreme in Giant Steps; I still like it though.
 

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I have had two teachers in the past tell me that Coltrane never intended to publish Giant Steps. At the time, he was exploring Tonic movement by thirds (chromatic mediants) and wrote the tune as an exploration of that concept. When he was recording that day, he recorded Giant Steps as an experiment for him to go back and listen to, but the studio told him that they were putting it on the album. Coltrane was upset, and was later interviewed and said that he did not intend for "Giant Steps" to make it out into the world, and that he considered it to be an exercise, not a tune.

I believe the story for a few reasons. For one, he had to call up Tommy Flanagan on the day of the session because his scheduled piano player wasn't willing to record the changes to Giant Steps without time to shed them. For those who didn't know, that explains Tommy Flanagans solo on that tune....The other reason is that "Giant Steps" is a very pretentious title for Coltrane.
I'm skeptical about that theory because Coltrane recorded multiples takes of "Giant Steps" in two different sessions, the first with Cedar Walton on piano and the second with Tommy Flanagan. I think there are at least two complete takes from each session that have been released now. So it seems unlikely that he would have taken up a bunch of studio time on two different dates just to record an experiment that he would not want to see released. We also know, from the evidence mentioned above, that he did perform the tune live on a number of occasions, so he must have been comfortable with it being out in the world.

If there is an interview where Coltrane said he was angry about "Giant Steps" having been released, I think that would mitigate what I've said above, but I am unaware of any such interview. Most of Coltrane's known interviews have been published in collections and bios by now, but it's always possible for one to have slipped through. Does anyone have the specifics as to where and when this interview was published?
 

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Good point(s) MLucky. Unless there is some documentation of Coltrane making such statements, skepticism is the way to go. I'm just saying it's not totally unreasonable that he initially was trying out an experiment and maybe wasn't all that crazy about having the first recording released. But once the tune 'caught on' he may well have changed his mind, deciding the experiment paid off and was a success. It's all speculation unless someone can come up with an actual interview.

A lot of jazz tunes (and other genres as well) were written by trying out something unconventional; chords were substituted, unusual chord progressions tried out, and other 'what if' ideas that resulted in some great tunes.
 

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I'm afraid to comment on that youtube clip; I'll just say it's an abomination and leave it at that.
 

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The footage used in milandro's link comes from Coltrane's appearance on Ralph Gleason's TV program Jazz Casual:
- on the program he played Afro Blue, Alabama, and Impressions.

I imagine he would have probably played Giant Steps live at some point either before or after it was first recorded (or both) but who knows for sure.
He's playing Impressions.
 

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I think it's just good fun
Yeah, until a million people view it or share it, not realizing it's a joke and thinking they are listening to "jazz." But, no big deal, the joke's on them, I guess.
 

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...or it could be that he got fascinated or had difficulty with the bridge to 'Have You Met Miss Jones', and made up an exercise that became Giant Steps.
 

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Not only not funny. Total disrespect for a great musician who achieved much in his short life. Showing this lack of respect In some circles you could find yourself floating in the east river.
This is even funnier than the video!
 
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