The Cosmic Scene: Duke Ellington's Spacemen (LP)
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A lost Duke Ellington gem from the late 50s – a session that has a decidedly different look than some of his other records of the time! We don't know if the Duke was into Sun Ra – but it almost seems like he was copping his thunder with this title and band name – a fair bit more flashy than the usual presentation for the Ellington group! The record's not nearly as trippy as you'd expect – but it's still a prime set of Ellingtonia from those key late 50s years – material played by a smaller group of "Spacemen" than Duke's fuller orchestra – with a bit more room for small group interaction, almost in a Verve mode. Players include Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet, Clark Terry on trumpet, Paul Gonzalves on tenor, Quentin Jackson on trombone, and Jimmy Woode on bass – and titles include "Avalon", "Midnight Sun", "Spacemen", "Bass-ment", "Early Autumn", and "Jones".