The most feared song in jazz, explained
The Greatest Jazz song of all time and its genius explained simply

Follow by Email
Making sense of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." Follow Vox Earworm on Facebook for more: And be sure to check out Earworm's complete first season here: John Coltrane, one of jazz history’s most revered saxophonists, released “Giant Steps” in 1959. It’s known across the jazz world as one of the most challenging compositions to improvise over for two reasons - it’s fast and it’s in three keys. Braxton Cook and Adam Neely give me a crash course in music theory to help me understand this notoriously difficult song, and I’m bringing you along for the ride. Even if you don’t understand a lick of music theory, you’ll likely walk away with an appreciation for this musical puzzle. Braxton Cook: Adam Neely: Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing. Previous headline: Jazz Deconstructed: John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" Some songs don't just stick in your head, they change the music world forever. Join Estelle Caswell on a musical journey to discover the stories behind your favorite songs. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out Watch our full video catalog: Follow Vox on Facebook: Or Twitter:


W C : Today I learned I'm too dumb for jazz. Very interesting video.

Young Paderewski : " Coltrane was somethin.' " Miles Davis

MANU ALEX : Your presentation and graphics design is out of this world. Awesome stuff

Mount Swervemore : Going from Spanish, to Arabic, then to Japanese very quickly is probably the best explanation you can give for this composition. Imagine using those 3 languages to create a sentence that makes sense. Utterly insane.

Adam Neely : Thanks for having me!

Joanne Zo : Tommy Flanagan was told that this recording session was for a ballad and was instead handed this. Bamboozled.

ktpinnacle : I've enjoyed music for many decades. I knew that jazz was complex and advanced, but I never knew why. It was a language I didn't understand. This video did a lot as an introduction and an appreciation.

Legit Jester : Why does the animation and song remind me of the Monsters Inc. Intro

My New Account : "People want to come back home" *music doesn't resolve to I before video ends*

Dwight Turner : The only keys I know about unlock my house and start my car.

B. Von Schnauser : I feel like I just got out of calculus class...

Chau Nguyen : Great explanations. I have no background in music theory but I felt comfortable through the whole video.

La Table Ronde airsoft : WoW. Not only is the content of this video essay incredible, BUT OMFG THE EDIT !!!!!!!!!

Rhys Bees : LOL I love how everyones just angry about how the video did Flanagan dirty

Brandon Gilbrech : I respectfully disagree with your conclusion about the piano solo. It seems to me that he decided, as the only chordal instrument, to continue to establish the chords in each bar, and then use passing tones to get to the next chord in the sequence. He could have easily chosen to not play the chords and just run from note to note, but that would have sounded too much like the saxophone run. I think where you see incompetence it was just a choice. Additionally, they were probably playing to a four track, if he had the opportunity to play just the chords, and a solo onto another track, he probably could or would have. I think you're doing the man a little dirty, unless he specifically has said that he was run around by the solo. Other pieces by Tommy Flanagan have a very similar style, Coltrane would have known, when he hired the dude, what he was going to get. Give the professional some credit.

Anton K : I don't think you're giving Mr.Flannagan enough credit. I think he made a conscious choice with the style he played, the only other chordal instrument in the arrangement, he played his changes is stark contrast to Coltrane.

CrispyBoi03 : Hates Vox Loves Adam Neeley Well Shoot

MathematicPony : Me, clicking on this video: "Man this better be giant steps..." Video: "John Coltrane's Gian't Steps–" Me: "thank god"

tomelifeisjustonebig : Super interesting. But I understood precisely zero parts of it.

Skifty Kitty : If u can play it slow u can play it fast YALL GET BACC TO PRACTICE

Lynn : Joey Alexander mastered this at 9 yrs old. Future legend..

Versaucey : *(jazz music stops)*

Cuong Le : “People want to come back home” loved that

MisterTalkingMachine : There YouTube, I watched it. I was not expecting Adam Neely. Should have watched this earlier.

SpiralPegasus : It's been years since my last attempt at studying music theory I've no time to start all over WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME

Jacob Daniel : Not to mention that us drummers break our wrists trying to keep that rhythm on the ride going!

Harvani Sumawijaya : Who else was pleasantly surprised to find adam neely

Dennis DeRien : This was the best educational video I've seen during the past year or so, and I've come accross it at the most appropriate time in my life this year. Thanks for the excellent work and just lovely production. It brought a much needed smile to my heart.


Virginia Waller : YouTube/internet/people all coming together to improve human lives in the context of education. Admirable.

Astrobum : What people think: Legendary, Greatest piece ever, the best, Playing this is crazy What John Coltrane thinks: I wrote it while taking a dump

Sappy. : The drummer was probably like, "Ha! You guys go improvise!". xd

Zk Sharpe : Wow Wow and Wow... I've always built my entire musical life and musical understandings around the 5ths. Thank You

Arman Nobari : The motion design in this (and all of Earworm tbf) is absolute fire

Love Supreme : I love how these 3 vocalists paid homage to this spiritual warrior: Shout for Trane (Mode) by Joe Lee Wilson Can't catch the Trane by Terry Callier John Coltrane by Dwight Trible

Ender Pearl : well, I can play the lick

MrIkesimba : Yeah, never mind the fact that Tommy Flanagan and Paul Chambers were hired as session musicians, having never seen or heard the music before, with no time to rehearse it, and were simply handed a lead sheet and expected to keep up. Meanwhile Coltrane had been working out ideas to play over the changes for months. Flanagan's ability to take a solo AT ALL is astonishing.

Tao Huang : 0:59 - "If you don't understand *a lick* of music theory"

Mike Holtackers : "people wanna come back home" John Zorn is triggered 🤣 Great video!

Franz Robert WILD : Thanks Estele !! You and the team did a great job on this. Definitively hooked by the story and its brilliant explanations !

Serpico Kojak : This is super awesome ... congratulations and please keep producing this type of music lessons. A+++

lkjhfdszxcvbnm : Great to see Adam with vox after his complaints about the video about the christmas chord.

John Emerick : Yeah, climbing up a mountain is hard, but not very fun... 🤔

Jeremiah Robles : This is how jazz musicians communicate with each other. "Hey man! Shed shed shed shed jam sesh?" "Can you play the changes?" "Vibe off dude" "Jive jive jive jive jazz jazz?" "Jazz!" "Killin'"

FoxplaysHD : Ya, like jazz?


theWanderer521 : Coltrane's study of the circle of fifth is like he's summoning something

Michael McDonald : I adore the way you say kul-TRANE. It reminds me of how Rachel Dratch pronounces hot tub “huhTUB.” Huge fan. I share every video I watch.

cripes_ _1702 : I'm surprised I identified the 2-5-1 in Sunday morning by maroon 5 :D