Duke Ellington called his music "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category". He remains one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music and is widely considered as one of the twentieth century's best known African American personalites. As both a composer and a band leader, Ellington's reputation has increased since his death. Posthumous recognition of his work include a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board.
Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live onand will endure for generations to come. Winton Marsalis said it best when he said "His music sounds like America." Because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase beyond category more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. He was most certainly one of a kind that maintained a llifestyle with universal appeal which transcended countless boundaries.
"Still riding the success of his triumphant concert at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington in 1958 decided to reduce his touring orchestra to a nonet dubbed 'the Spacemen,' and recorded this lone project with them for the Columbia label. Perhaps inspired by the first orbiting satellites, Ellington is not taking cues from George Russell or Sun Ra, whose extraterrestrial inspirations led them to even more progressive paths. This large ensemble is playing mostly standards, but the arrangements and solos carve an integrated yet elasticized concept that allows for a more expanded role for the ensemble's trombonists Quentin 'Butter' Jackson, John Sanders, and Britt Woodman, and select soloists... There are two originals; the blues bass of Jimmy Woode and the 'bones with plentiful piano from Duke infusing 'Bass-Ment,' and one of the more delightful of all of Ellington's book, the poppin' and boppin' 'Spacemen,' a bright happy horn chart led by Terry that is one of the more distinctive Ellington numbers of this time period. It comes highly recommended." - Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide
"Of course almost anything Ellington does is terrific, deserving of his frequent phrase 'beyond category,' and this small group session is no exception... There are two originals: the first with plenty of Dukes piano, and the second the delightful sort-of title tune, 'The Spacemen'... The remastering of the original mono tapes was done by Ray Staff at Air Mastering in London and I dont know what could be improved." - John Henry, audaud.com, 4 Stars!
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Recorded at Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York on April 2 & 3, 1958.
180 Gram Vinyl
Pressed at Pallas in Germany
Remastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering Lyndhurst Hall, London
Duke Ellington, piano
Clark Terry, trumpet, flugelhorn
Sam Woodyard, drums
Jimmy Wood, bass
Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet
Paul Gonsalves, tenor saxophone
Britt Woodman, trombone
John Sanders, trombone
Quentin Jackson, trombone
2. Body And Soul
4. Early Autumn
2. St. Louis Blues
4. Midnight Sun
5. Take The "A" Train