Soloing over GIANT STEPS


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Scott Jones
04-02-2008, 07:47 AM
Soloing over “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane:
How do you approach soloing over progressions that don't seem to make sense (at least to me) such as Giant Steps (from Real Book 5th edition)

Always look for the tonal centers...!!!

"Giant Steps" has three tonal centers:

"B", "G", and "Eb" ...

The progression seems hard because of it's tempo and the jump of Major thirds between tonal centers...

The progression:

Bmaj7-D7-/Gmaj7-Bb7-/Ebmaj7---/Am-D7-/Gmaj7-Bb7-/Ebmaj7-F#7-/Bmaj7---/
/Fm-Bb7-/Ebmaj7---/Am-D7-/Gmaj7---/C#m-F#7-/Bmaj7---/Fm-Bb7-/Ebmaj7---/
/C#m-F#7-/

The tonal centers...
(each chord is listed with it's function within that key):

(Bmaj7-I)B major;
(D7-ii, Gmaj7-I)Gmajor;
(Bb7-V, Ebmaj7-I)Eb major;
(Am-ii, D7-V, Gmaj7-I)Gmajor;
(Bb7-V, Ebmaj7-I)Eb major;
(F#7-V, Bmaj7-I)Bmajor;
(Fm-ii, Bb7-V, Ebmaj7-I)Eb major;
(Am-ii, D7-V, Gmaj7-I)Gmajor;
(C#m-ii, F#7-V, Bmaj7-I)B major;
(Fm-ii, Bb7-V, Ebmaj7-I)Eb major;
(C#m-ii, F#7-V, to Bmaj7-I at top)B major...

It's really just a matter of playing over ii-V's and ii-V-I's...

This is a much-simplified breakdown of this profoundly complex composition...

Doing Giant Steps has been almost a past-time for me, as I have recorded the tune more than a few times.

Here are a few takes:

http://soundcloud.com/scottjonesmusic/sets/scott-jones-giant-steps-takes/

Anway, there they are....hope you guys dig them...

Peace,

Scott

ze monsta
04-02-2008, 07:53 AM
You will get a proper answer, just not from me. :haha

Sorry.

Scott Jones
04-02-2008, 08:09 AM
You will get a proper answer, just not from me. :haha

Sorry.

It's not a question, but posing a question and answering that question.

No answer needed.

nightraven
04-02-2008, 08:30 AM
i read somewhere that giant steps was the most complicated chord progression ever or something :\ :\

ze monsta
04-02-2008, 08:58 AM
It's not a question, but posing a question and answering that question.

No answer needed.

Meh, I just thought your grammar was terrible and it became real confusing, so I didn't actually read all of it. :p:

Jimmy94
04-02-2008, 10:34 AM
I don't think I'm quite ready for giant steps yet. I have a friend who is excellent at soloing over it on saxaphone, but he practiced a looooong ass time to get that ability.

Scott Jones
04-02-2008, 10:55 AM
i read somewhere that giant steps was the most complicated chord progression ever or something :\ :\

Giant Steps is actually made up of the most primary elements in the jazz harmonic language, ii V's and ii V I's.

What makes the progression challenging to improvise over, is the both the harmonic rate (the speed at which the chords are played);

The asymmetry of the harmony (Bmaj7-D7-/Gmaj7-Bb7-/Ebmaj7---) ie the resolutions are not always within a standard even phrase.

And the fact that it does move tonal center around in wide intervals.

What is not difficult is if you reduce it to ii V's and tonal centers, it helps you manage the rest of the content with quite a bit less stress.

Nick_
04-02-2008, 04:39 PM
According to legend, Coltrane was messing with the third movement in his ii-Vs to challenge himself because that way there was very little in common between key centres. Most keys up to that point had moved in 2nds, 4ths or 5ths; those left a lot of common notes. Giant steps is fast (and countdown, with similar changes, is faster) and you have to be on the ball to sound right ... you can't fake your way through it.

But if you know your bop well it's just a matter of chops and concentration.

sinan90
04-02-2008, 05:02 PM
You could also tackle GS with a single scale: http://www.opus28.co.uk/gsteps.pdf is a good article about it.

Beakwithteeth
04-02-2008, 10:57 PM
:wtf:

Why must I be such a huge n00b!?!?

ze monsta
04-03-2008, 05:51 AM
^ That's kinda what I thought, actually! I don't listen to Jazz, and if I do go near to it, I only really listen to the self professed creator of Jazz Jelly Roll Morton. :haha

aetherspear
04-03-2008, 01:08 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Steps_(composition)

GoDrex
04-03-2008, 01:14 PM
Love the fusion/Holdsworth-ish one. They're all really good, but I love that sound a lot.

fosho
04-03-2008, 07:52 PM
wow man, really really good.
i really dig all the takes except the second clean one.

i wont bother trying to solo over it m'self.
not yet atleast. i do dig alot of coltranes stuff though.
just that particular piece...its no joke man, Giant Steps aint to be messed around with