Is anyone familiar with Coltrane Changes/Progressions/Matrix? I'm trying to figure out the basic idea behind it. I'm looking at the score for Giant Steps, and I can't make sense of how he uses these intervals in progressions (3rds) but still follow a ii V I. It seems like he's in 5 different keys at once.
Have you ever studied simpler jazz harmony before? I don't know if you have, but I'm almost done with the basics (though I think a jazz study is never done) and I don't get Coltranes stuff at all. Perhaps a tip to try easier stuff before Coltrane?
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Coltrane changes are just changing key-centers...a lot. He is indeed just doing a II-V-I and V-I in 3 key centers. B, G and Eb.

Each key center is a major 3rd away (either up or down).

Thats the basics of it...but I don't have a strong enough grasp on it to go any "deeper" so to speak.
that's all he's doing man... exactly what you said in your first post. he's switching key centers using ii-V's and ii-V-I's

look at the progression.

B   D7  | G    Bb7  | Eb     | A-7   D7
G   Bb7 | Eb   F#7  | B      | F-7   Bb7 
Eb      | A-7  D7   | G      | C#-7  F#7 
B       | F-7  Bb7  | Eb     | C#-7  F#7 

so... you're starting in B

V7-I in the key of G (D7 G)
V7-I in the key of Eb (Bb7 Eb)
ii-V7-I in the key of G (A-7 D7 G)
V7-I in the key of Eb (Bb7 Eb)
V7-I in the key of B (F#7 B)
ii-V7-I in the key of Eb (F-7 Bb7 Eb)
ii-V7-I in the key of G (A-7 D7 G)
ii-V7-I in the key of B (C#-7 F#7 B)
ii-V7-I in the key of Eb (F-7 Bb7 Eb)
finishing off with a ii-V7 in the key of B (C#-7 F#7) which leads right back into the first chord of the tune, which is the B

for you visual folks.

(chord analysis is above the progression, key it belongs to is below)

that's the basics of it. it's also all you REALLY need to know, although there's a million and one in depth approachis/analysis/thesis/etc.. on it, that's all for the really advanced player who wants to approach it in a bunch of different ways or people who don't know what they're doing but want to impress other muso's with their intellectual bladerdash.

either way, they all started with the basic form of the tune so, just go over this and play.

When I saw Matrix, I was thinking atonal or series or whatever that stuff is called.

Cas seems to have given a good explanation though.