I remember first hearing Interstellar Space when I was a teenager and I wasn’t ready for it. Blue Train was my first gateway into jazz when I was 16 or 17 and I spent the next few years running up credit card debt buying just about every damn Blue Note CD (among others, anyway) I could get my hands on. Nearly twenty years on when I got rid of basically my entire CD collection I couldn’t part with any of the jazz discs I bought during that period (and goddamn am I happy about that).
A few years later I heard Stellar Regions and Meditations and loved them so I figured I should return to Interstellar Space for another go. I got chills from the first bells of “Mars” and as Rashied Ali’s drums slowly but memorably come in, there is an instant feeling of suspense and excitement knowing that uncharted waters are ahead and the world of two colossuses awaits. Coltrane aims straight for the throat from the first pass and it’s all skyward from there. At times I can barely take it, but there is so much to hear, so much to feel that staying on board until the final notes are played is the only way forward.
Ever since, it’s been one of my go to albums for any situation and is, for my money, Coltrane’s finest. It’s 45 minutes of two of the best artists the world has ever seen just going off. Interstellar Space has obviously been written about exhaustively (and I’m hardly adding anything new to the conversation here), but it’s been an album at the forefront of my thoughts as of late. I’ve been playing it almost daily, like a jolt of sonic cocaine to start the day and I’m not sure there’s a better start to the morning than Ali and Coltrane going atomic from the heavens.