Thursday, August 10, 2006

The cosmic scene

I just found out that Duke Ellington’s THE COSMIC SCENE has just been re-issued by Mosaic Records. Get one. It’s my favorite Duke Ellington album.

Ellington recorded the album in 1958 with a small group of nine (for Ellington, that was small) core players from his orchestra. In honor of the just starting space race, Ellington called the group Duke Ellington’s Spacemen. The most interesting element of the group is the three (!) trombone players. Also in the Spacemen were the great Clark Terry on trumpet, tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, and Jimmy Hamilton playing clarinet. The rhythm section was drummer Sam Woodyard and Jimmy Wood on bass. Ellington played piano and led the group.

The songs are mostly standards - including some of Ellington’s own - and a couple of new songs.

There are bits on this record that remind me of what Charles Mingus would be doing just a few years later.


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