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Modal Jazz to Post Bop

Here is the additional listening for this week. Here are transcriptions of Miles Davis’s “So What,” John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” and Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt.”

This week we are dealing with the immediate aftermath of Cool and Hard Bop (and the continuation of “Modern Jazz”), with a special emphasis on Miles Davis and John Coltrane and their legacy in the realm of post-bop. Since many of these recordings have been so influential, we are going to dedicate a considerable about of time to looking at transcriptions and discussing the consequences of these musical developments on jazz.

ETA: I should add that the repertoire we are doing this week has, for better or worse, been very influential for contemporary students of jazz. To this day, a player’s ability to play over the “Giant Steps” changes is understood as a benchmark of ability (and is often taught in jazz programs around the country). Further, doing so without sounding like Coltrane is a further challenge. Jazz scholar David Ake has written about this particular phenomenon in Jazz Cultures.


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