John Coltrane: Countdown




John Coltrane (tenor sax)


Giant Steps (Atlantic 1311-2)

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John Coltrane (tenor sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums).

Composed by John Coltrane


Recorded: New York, May 4, 1959


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

After being traumatically beaten into space by the Soviet Union—momentarily making Communism seem scientifically and technologically superior—the U.S. played catch-up with an urgency unseen since Pearl Harbor. Soon our own rockets began lifting off, most of which collapsed back onto the launch pad in fiery embarrassment or careened out of control and had to be detonated. Still, we were determined. And nowhere was our newfound sense of national purpose better expressed than in John Coltrane's "Countdown," the most technically advanced saxophone solo to date. Why, if an American could accomplish this, we could … go to the Moon!

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


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