4. Giant Steps
John Coltrane was a huge inspiration to me. Historically, this is a very important song, as it represents an important early step in Coltrane's stretching of the harmonic vocabulary of jazz as he searched for a new language of expression.
The harmony is based on II-V-I progressions, which roots it firmly within the bebop transition, but these progress move through a dizzying series of transpositions that leads to a brilliant new sound that was quite futuristic in its time and still sounds fresh today.
Kenwood plays a deft supportive role here, to help the interplay between Mike Stern and me shine through.
Mike brought a huge rack of equipment in to the studio. His rack was like a mini studio unto itself. This allowed him to precisely control his tone and send us exactly the sound he wanted so we didn't have to do any guessing. One slight adjustment: for the most part we placed the special guest on the left and me on the right, but in this case the separation was a bit less extreme than usual because Mike's sound is already a stereo sound, and we didn't want to take away from the bigness of his sound by sticking it too far onto one side.