John Coltrane: Mars




John Coltrane (tenor sax, bells)


Interstellar Space (Impulse 314 543 415 2)

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John Coltrane (tenor sax, bells), Rashied Ali (drums).

Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., February 22, 1967


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

        John Coltrane
    Photo by Herb Snitzer

Coltrane stripped his musical ideas to the bone with his final great album, Interstellar Space. A series of duets with the free drummer Rashied Ali, the record would become the sacred text for all other sax-drums pairings. Nothing resembling melody or rhythm exists here – just pure sound and thoughts, free of structure and constraints. Pure emotion, pure energy, pure reactions. For the open-minded, a song – song? – like “Mars” can be an enlightening experience. When he’s not honking away, Coltrane blows circular, repetitive phrases while Ali strikes skins and cymbals with little regard for their intended uses – a ride cymbal becomes a snare drum, a snare becomes a hi-hat. What was going through Coltrane’s mind when he came up with this? We’ll never know.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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  • 1 DarkScorpion // Oct 09, 2008 at 01:57 AM
    God damn.. i love this.. pure madness @ first. but then you listen to the patterns.. damn scales man :D