Giant Steps

Giant Steps – John Coltrane’s Solo

Alright, all, below is my transcription of John Coltrane’s solo on “Giant Steps” – all 11 choruses (but not the two chorus he does after Tommy Flanagan’s solo before going back into the head – sorry, you’ll just have to settle for 11).  This time, it comes with a small amount of analysis.   You’ll notice that Trane relies heavily on pentatonics and arpeggiation  (one has to at such a quick tempo).  As an improviser, I find it very reassuring that Trane repeats several licks, in whole or in part, in numerous places, and he by no means played 176 bars of completely original material at ~300bpm.  Examples of repeated licks can be found:

  • Measures 22-23 = 38-39 = 102-103 = 134-135
  • Measure 41 = 47
  • Measures 18-20 = 50-52 = 66-68 = 114-115
  • Measures 25-27 = 73-75
  • Measures 54-56 = 115-117

This is by no means an inclusive list, just one meant to highlight some patterns that Trane worked out that move very nicely through the changes.  Well, enjoy!


Freddie Hubbard – Dear John

Below is a lead sheet to the tune “Dear John” written by Freddie Hubbard off his album Bolivia.  The album isn’t my favorite, but it features some real heavy hitters – Cedar Walton and Vincent Herring – and also has the tune “Bolivia” on it (obviously).  It’s an original melody over the changes to John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”  The chords in the first two bars aren’t exactly right, and it’s driving me nuts… but this is the best I have right now.  Enjoy.