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Interstellar Space Original recording reissued

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, June 6, 2000
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Mars10:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Venus 8:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Jupiter 5:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Saturn11:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Leo10:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Jupiter Variation 6:43$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Interstellar Space + Stellar Regions + Sun Ship
Price for all three: $38.03

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 6, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Impulse!
  • ASIN: B00004TA41
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,379 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

John Coltrane's last recordings have a concentrated intensity and a pointed focus that give them the authority of a final testament. On Interstellar Space, recorded in February 1967 just a few months before his death, Coltrane reduced the idea of the group to its absolute minimum, a duo with drummer Rashied Ali. Without the fixed harmonic frame of reference provided by piano or bass, Coltrane takes each of his brief themes and submits it to extended testing--repeating, contracting, and expanding phrases until they melt into a new inspiration. These are performances of extraordinary technical achievement. Coltrane ranges over the tenor with a vibrato so tight it sounds like it might contort the horn, exploring incremental shifts in pitch and tone and bending notes from one register to another. But it's a virtuosity that may well go unnoticed amid the sheer passion of his work and the unknown goal toward which every improvisation moves. It's visionary music, filled with expressive necessity and the full tumult of life, embarking on journeys that are as apt to begin in serenity as end there. Rashied Ali matches Coltrane here as well as Elvin Jones had earlier in the decade, using continuous rolls and cymbal details to create a polyrhythmic backdrop that's filled with subtle, responsive shifts in accents. It's clearly all the support that Coltrane required. --Stuart Broomer

Customer Reviews

I'm a fan of course, and must say that the music is unbelievable.
It truly seems that I could listen to this album 1000 times in a row and I would hear something new and innovative every time..
Rashied Ali, the brilliant drummer and a perfect counterpart to John Coltrane's incredible saxophone playing.
M. Scagnelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By G B on December 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
In 1957 John Coltrane recorded his first masterpiece, Blue Train; in 1967, he recorded his last masterpiece, Interstellar Space. Within 5 months of recording these duets with drummer Rashied Ali, he would die of liver cancer.
Though it gets lumped with other "late", post-1965 or avant-garde Coltrane recordings, this album sounds very little like any other Trane recording. Even if you dislike Meditations or Ascension, there's a chance that you'll like this -- and vice versa. The absence of Pharoah Sanders makes this record easier on the ears, and a lot less ferocious. On the other hand people who love the hardcore intensity of stuff like Meditations or Sun Ship may find Interstellar Space to be a little too abstract or austere. The absence of piano creates a lot of space, which may be a good or a bad thing depending on your tastes.
There are still some similarities to Meditations, Sun Ship, etc. -- Coltrane's playing is very free, disregarding harmony and melody for sound. The themes are short and range from serene beauty ("Venus") to dense fury ("Leo"). Though it might seem that this music is random or without structure, the order and structure are just in a different musical language. In some parts, Coltrane is conducting a saxophone dialogue with himself.
I'm a fan of course, and must say that the music is unbelievable. If you're a fan of Trane's saxophone playing, keep in mind that he just PLAYS on this album, with none of his abilities impaired in the least. Rashied Ali is obviously not Elvin Jones, but he complements Trane perfectly and fuels his ideas. As long as you know what you are getting into, this should be one of the first purchases if you want to explore Coltrane's late music. And though very little of his other work sounds like it, the quartet sessions composing Stellar Regions and Expression come from the same time period.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on May 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This disc is 60 minutes of some of the most impassioned free jazz you will hear from an innovating giant in the field. Of the myriad posthumously released recordings of John Coltrane, _Interstellar Space_ is certainly one of the most profound.
Part of what makes the album intriguing is that the lineup is unlike anything else Coltrane did. Jazz duos became more common later. The entire album is improvised in duo format with Rasheid Ali on drums. Coltrane could have found no drummer more empathetic than Ali, who is a very different beast than the mighty Elvin Jones. Ali abandons the role of rhythmic anchor and follows Coltrane directly into the free vortex, and the two play against one another in a dazzling swirl of spattering cymbals, clattering rolls, tonally-straining honks and sqruawks, and spitfire runs of 16th notes. The sparse texture purifies the focus on the rich dynamics, intensity, and magical interplay. Meter exists in this music only by implication. The music is played around time signatures, but only rarely do they overtly appear. It's brutally passionate ("Mars"), shockingly beautiful and emotional, (the final third of "Venus"), and wickedly swingin' (for about 15 glorious seconds near the end of "Saturn"). And it's all dangerously jazzy and movingly spiritual.
If you want another masterpiece of monstrous duo free jazz, hunt down _Spots, Circles, and Fantasy_, Cecil Taylor on piano and Han Bennink on drums.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By gone daddy gone on December 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Wow. My uncle is a Coltrane worshipper like myself, and also a jazz drummer, a really smart and wonderful man, but he quits on Coltrane after 1965. We argue about this music from time to time, he refers to it as idiotic or says it doesn't make musical sense, but he's calmed down because he knows how strongly I feel about this music. My ex wife would leave the house every time I put this record on. I confess these points of view just astound me. Here Coltrane breaks through yet again into musical territory that is virgin soil, he was the first here, and really no one has come close since (With all due respect mister Dorward I don't think the Prevost/Parker recordings come close, I love those guys, and I love that recording, but man this music is just too far ahead of anyone else. All the same I agree with you though that people should check those and their other works out too). From this record alone I will say Rashid Ali is the greatest drummer to use a Western drum kit I have ever heard. He doesn't play like a drummer, he plays like a pianist,like Cecil Taylor really, he is concerned with sounds, with novelty, I could listen to a thousand drummers and know him every time, he never really repeats himself, never finds a recurring beat and always sounds new and interesting (it's a shame he never recorded with Derek Bailey or Sonny Sharrock my god what that would have been like!). This record is a duet between Saxophone and drums, how bold is that? Not a sax record with drums keeping the time, but a true duet, with each musician changing, moving, making sounds of beauty, new tones, new rhythm, new space, new moods. Yes, the drums make moods, they even have a sensitive side!Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on March 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
"Interstellar Space" is one of the most challenging and interesting pieces ever recorded by John Coltrane-- a duet between Trane (on tenor and bells) and Rashied Ali (on drums), there is little here to hold onto in terms of conventional structure. Additionally, Coltrane plays with such an intensity and fire that as soon as the theme statements are out of the way, his playing can be downright furious. Ali is able to maintain a sensitive accompaniment, joining in the fury that Coltrane shows and occasionally keeping the recordings grounded enough to prevent them from feeling indulgent.

Opener "Mars" should be enough to show the fire and intensity that Coltrane plays with as he tests the dynamic range and potential of his instrument. There is little regard for conventional harmonic structure and Trane pretty much goes to war with Ali. Similar in feel is "Jupiter"-- took me a long time to be able to really get into this (and I *LOVE* free improv). Coltrane springs loose, breaking the boundaries of the instrument, wailing, screaming, playing the sort of fast runs he was known for, "speaking in tongues", he really pulls out all the stops. Whats amazing is that its the briefest piece on the album, yet probably covers the most ground.

One thing that often separates Coltrane from his less interesting contemporaries is his ability to express any number of moods-- "Venus" opens in nearly a ballad form, and while the improvisation proves to be the most challenging, in terms of lack of expected harmonic structure, there is a delicate beauty to the theme statement and his soloing is breathtaking in its range of sound and power.
Read more ›
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