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Stellar Regions

34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 10, 1995
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Product Description

Trane's last studio recordings, recently discovered in wife Alice Coltrane's private collection! Includes Creation; Sun Star; Offering , and more.

This set is drawn from a February 15, 1967, recording session--one of John Coltrane's last days in the studio. The tapes had been in Alice Coltrane's care since the recording, and she gave titles to the pieces, overseeing their release on CD in 1995. All are previously unreleased with the exception of "Offering" which appeared on Expression. As on that release, there's evidence here that Coltrane's relentless musical search was drawing him ever further out. The performances are shorter, focused, with a magisterial lyricism seamlessly integrated with exclamatory shrieks and cries. There is an aching, though rough-hewn, beauty to Coltrane's playing on these tracks. With the exception of "Tranesonic" where he is on alto, he plays tenor sax throughout. His command of the instrument from the very bottom of the low register to the stratospheric heights of the altissimo is staggering--note in particular his "duet" with himself on "Sun Star" where he questions and answers with himself on the extreme ranges of the horn. There's a depth and wisdom to these recordings that only further extends the Coltrane legacy. --Michael Monhart
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 10, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Impulse!
  • ASIN: B000003N7W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,974 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By eezeeks on October 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
i found this cd in the used bin and decided to pick it up because it was on the cheap. normally i would hesitate to buy MORE late era coltrane - i mean how much do i need, right?
boy was i wrong... i loved this album from the very first time i put it on the stereo.
i would recommend that this be the first late era coltrane cd that you purchase if you're not versed in abstract/avant music. why? because it's just as complex as coltrane's releases that surround it, but it's easier to get initially get into.
how can that be? i mean, how can something be just as complex, yet more accessable? it's because of the feel of the record. with Ascension and Interstellar Space, the music was not only insanely complex, but also almost harsh on the ears. the volume and the (i hesitate to use the word) harshness of those records provided the listener with an additional barrier they had to break through before they could get into the record. here, that barrier is gone.
the music, while complex and abstract, has a very soothing feel to it. the title is very befitting, as coltrane's notes sound as beautiful and natural as stars in the sky. his wife, alice, plays piano here, and her spacey, beautiful contribution complements the music perfectly. even when the music is impossible, the sound is always inviting. that's what i love about this - it sounds natural, beautiful and complex. for those who have been hesitating to get late era Coltrane, this is the place to start.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Matt Stephens on August 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This was one of John Coltrane's last studio sessions. It is obvious here that what he had in mind in the studio was very different from what he had in mind for his live performances. The studio was a laboratory for him; he experimented constantly during recording sessions. Stellar Regions represents yet another of his studio explorations in which he stretched the neverending limits of free jazz. To be complelety honest, some of the music here is very resemblant of classical music, especially "Seraphic Light," "Iris," "Jimmy's Mode," and the title track, which is actually "Venus" from Interstellar Space, not "Stellar Regions," as Alice Coltrane mistakenly titled it when she helped put together this posthumous release.

The music on this album gives some good clues as to what sort of stuff Coltrane may have done had he lived on into the '70s: shorter pieces, longer, more developed melodies (which he briefly explored on Living Space with the classic quartet), and extensive study of different modes and harmony. Of course, he was always exploring the melodic and harmonic aspects of the music, but he never focused that much on rhythm. Toward the end of his life, he said that he wanted to experiment more with rhythm and different ways to use rhythm. Rashied Ali was the perfect drummer for that. He developed a method of playing freely but still counting in his head; it was just brilliant. The absence of Pharoah Sanders here may also be indicative of what Coltrane had in mind. Maybe he just wanted to go back to working with a quartet in the studio, while still using an expanded lineup for live performances (The Olatunji Concert, Coltrane's last recording before his death, is an amazing exploration featuring both Trane and Pharoah.. one of the greatest recordings ever made).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mason williams on September 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I like to think of Coltrane's prestige years as a time of myth. His time with Bethlehem, Blue Note and Columbia (w/ miles) his education. His Atlantic Years as his "prime" as an entertainer and touring musician. And finally his Impulse! years as a period in time that took him from being a very spiritual artist to an absolute GOD. He seemed to get more and more far out as his life came to an end. Miles davis said (after coltrane's death) "John took it so far out and just left it there, he was the leader, nobody knows what to do with it now". allegedly starting a few months before this recording and really peaking during the sessions, John was getting haunting visions of GOD whenever he played music. He didn't know he was sick but he knew he was going to die. You can definately hear that in this music. It's amazing this stuff collected dust for so many years. I have every Coltrane Impulse! album as well as bootlegs and japanese only releases. This one is my very favorite. This is the one I go back to time and again. This album gets me higher than any herb or chemical ever has. I can not recommend it enough.
If you are looking for a blown mind start here then pick up "ascension", "interstellar space", and the "village vanguard master takes". you won't be sorry.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. K. L. on January 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This music sat for 30 years before Alice Coltrane made it public. ... the music is such an intensely personal cry of love and pain. ... They are so tinged with beauty, grief, and compassion, they are at times unendurably poignant. ... Sometimes John was all power without poetry, and sometimes he was pure poetry verging on the sentimental ... But here he combines all his power and all is poetry. It is the gentle side of John Coltrane together with the adventurer. Here he beckons us to the final adventure into universal love and cosmic freedom. But the journey is not without terror and pain. Of all his albums (and I have 25 of them) this is my favorite.
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