Duke Ellington - The Cosmic Scene (MCD-1001)

Mosaic Singles


Duke Ellington - The Cosmic Scene (MCD-1001)

"Put simply, the nonet is tighter than Woodyard's drum heads." - Cam MIller, The American Rag

This set is Running Low
Limited Edition

1 CD -  $15.00


Long Overdue!

The whimsical title for this 1958 Ellington album comes from the launch of the first American satellite, not an intention to head in Sun Ra's direction. What makes this small group session unique is that it has a big sound to it. It features three soloists: Clark Terry on fluegelhorn, Paul Gonsalves on tenor sax and Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet. The rhythm section is Ellington, Jimmy Woode and Sam Woodyard. The larger ensemble feel is derived from adding Ellington's three trombonists in a strictly supportive, arranged role.

The repertoire is equal parts Ellingtonia and outside material. Arrangers Ellington and Hamilton fashion their own fresh, unique approach to classic material like Avalon and Ralph Burns' Early Autumn. The Ellington material ranges from Take The A Train and a boppish reworking of Perdido to new compositions like Jones and Spacemen. With the advent of the LP, the occasional Ellington small group session gave deserving soloists the room to stretch out. And none were more deserving in the 1958 band than Hamilton, Gonsalves and Terry, all of whom acquit themselves with remarkably consistent excellence throughout. Special mention must go to Paul Gonsalves' astonishing workout on Body And Soul, rivaled perhaps only by the famous Coleman Hawkins and Serge Chaloff versions. This version begins with a beautiful ballad statement, follow by three blistering choruses of invention during which the tenor man's ideas seem to snowball from one into the next, quoting Drumboogie, Peanut Vendor, Raymond Scott's Powerhouse and Hail To The Queen along the way. We've also included the previously unissued first take of this tune as well with a very different interpretation of the melody on the first chorus and another great solo.

Taped amid a flurry of extensive and important recording activity by the full orchestra in 1958-59, The Cosmic Scene was released only in monaural and received with little notice. For this long overdue reissue, we returned to the three-track masters, beautifully recorded at Columbia's legendary 30th Street Studio by Fred Plaut to construct a stereo master of the album plus alternate takes of Jones, issued at the time as a single and Body And Soul.

Read More About Duke Ellington:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates


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  Dear Folks...
If we didn't care there wouldn't be these little differences. Then, the world would be a poorer place, and--our existance that much duller. I started to collect jazz and big band recordings in 1976. Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, AND Artie Shaw kicked-off my collection. There really IS no need for Shaw fans to denigrate Goodman, or vise-versa. That I'm guilty in that respect, and put in my two-pen'orth, I readily admit. I merely wished to respond to the assertion--put forward in an unsigned review--that B.G. "has no soul", which is nonsense. I write as a private individual, and have no connection to American security organisations! To Mr. Mouse: Thank you for your comment. I didn't understand it but--thanks! Isn't it funny that princes and kings, and clowns, who tumble in sawdust rings, Ordin'ry folk, like you and me, are builders of eternity. To each is given a set of tools, an hourglass, and a book of rules. And, each must build, 'ere his time has flown, a stumbling block, or stepping stone. T.Henshaw
Folks, If we didn't care, there wouldn't be these little differences. The world would be a poorer place...our existence, that much duller. I started to collect jazz and big band recordings in 1976. Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, AND Artie Shaw kicked-off my collection. There really IS no need for Shaw fans to denigrate Goodman, or vise-versa. That I'm guilty, and put in my two-pen'orth, I readily admit. I merely wished to counter the assertion--put forward in an unsigned review--that Goodman's playing had "no soul", which is nonsense. I write as a private individual. I have no connection with any American security organisation. To Mr. Mouse: I thank you for your comment. I don't understand it, but--thanks! Isn't it funny that princes and kings, and clowns who tumble in sawdust rings...ordin'ry folk, like you and me, are builders of eternity. To each is given a set of tools, an hourglass, and a book of rules. And--each must build, ere his time has flown, a stumbling block or stepping stone (Anon.) T.Henshaw
To the vagaries of the internet, and/or this website my review (carefully and laboriously typed on my mobile phone) has appeared in the wrong place. I thought it had been lost so, typed it again (hence the duplication). The review is part of what has become a small thread, and pertains to the box-set of Benny Goodman Columbia big band recordings (not to a Duke Ellington set "Cosmic"). To internet users everywhere: Happy Suffering! T.Henshaw
  About Luqman Lateef
Well: sorry for my mistaken in the previous letter. I have another question: who are so kind to write something about Luqman Lateef? Is it your real name or ...? greeting Luciano
  Artistic Add-Ons ?? !!
Calling ron carter on arco bass or Alice Coltrane on harp "artist add-ons" - as if they were mere novelty - is like calling Dolphy on bass clarinet a last minute artistic add-on to the Coltrane Vanguard dates.
  Hello!! Mosaic? Fix This, please.
This "Artistic Add-On" comment, below, is from me. I made it on the Mosaic Select McCoy Tyner page!! Why is it posted here? And as you can see there are a few others commenting on other sets that are being dumped here as well (Ella Fitzgerald boxset for one). Something needs to be fixed. Thanks.
  Great Opportunity For Rediscovery!
Quality music that richly deservers to be heard. These recordings sound crisp and the performances are nuanced, creative and original. A joy from start to finish!
I had previously made repeated attempts at a decent-sounding Chick Webb set. Orrin Keepnews' Decca offering, for which he presumably had access to the original masters. Flat and dead sounding! Then I tried legendary John R.T. Davies effort for Hep Records. Full-sounding, but so lacking in dynamic range that all the snap gone! A Jazz After Hours import had the snap, but the louder horn passages suffered from over-modulation and would break up! When I played your set -- Wow! The band sounds so ALIVE! And those drums, oh those drums, clear and distinct! After hearing ABOUT how powerful this band was for years, we now get to HEAR how powerful the band was. Perhaps, like I was, you're a little wary of the set because of the many novelty numbers Ella sings. I've heard other recordings of the later period and they sounded a little too cute by half. This was because the others I'd heard pushed Ella way up front, relegating the band to sounding like back-up for the singer. With Mosaic's remastering, she sounds like another solo instrument IN the band. Makes a world of difference. Now I think "Dipsy Doodle" kicks butt! Special mention due for the fine writing by John McDonough. Exceptionally detailed and literate. And the photographs seem to really capture Webb's personality. In every aspect, Mosaic has exceeded its own high standards with this one. Plug that hole in your swing era big band collection. Don't let this one pass you by.
  Crisp Brass and Ella at Her Best!
I've been a fan of Miss Ella since 1963 when my Dad took me to the record shop to buy records for my Mom's birthday in 1963 I was 13 then, and when he put 'Ella in Berlin' on, I was amazed at the clarity and musicality of her voice. I became a jazz fan then, and have never wavered in my admiration for Miss Fitzgerald. I've been a record collector for over fifty years and Decca USA pressings are among the worst of all I've seen. This boxed set of her recordings is by far the best sounding one I've heard. I'm glad to have 'Is There Somebody Else?' in decent sound. I happen to like Chick Webb's drumming as well as Ella's singing. To sum up this set,'Get it!'
  A Significant Body of Work
This was on many people's wish list for the Mosaic treatment for years. These are the finest studio recordings of one of the greatest units in the music. Thank you, Mosaic. Also please consider doing a companion set of the MJQ Atlantic live recordings.
  Mr. Terry
A good one! Interesting to hear Gonsalves out front, although Clark Terry steals the show to my ears. A more egalitarian souund without Hodges - nice!
  Smokin' small band!
What creativity the Ellingtonians had here! Body and Soul left me speechless and out of breath. Probably one of Gonsalves' best efforts. Sam Woodyard swings soooo hard, choppin' away! Clark Terry is wonderful as is Jimmy Hamilton. The trombones add wonderful color and fullness to the band. The recording sounds great thanks to the experts at Mosaic! Don't think twice about ordering this one, superb sound!!!!! Keep releasing more singles Mosaic!
  Blown away by Gonsalves - but an error in the written notes!
Like everyone else, I was really blown away by Paul Gonsalves' playing in both takes of "Body and Soul". I did want to point out one error in Scott Wenzel's notes: in both takes, Gonsalves quotes Raymond Scott's "The Toy Trumpet," and not "Powerhouse" (unless I missed it with all the rapid-fire playing). Also take note that he quotes "La Marseillaise" in the published take, and "Columbia Gem of the Ocean" in the alternate take. If Charles Ives had been into jazz, he would have done the same thing!
  Paul Gonsalves: Who Knew?
I'm sure the answer is lots of people, but not me. Paul's reading of 'Body and Soul' is brilliant. I play this record more than any other Ellington I own.
  Long overdue is right...!
Thank God this is finally seeing the light of day. I've been searching for this album for years. And it sounds amazing! Mosaic has done it again. One of Ellington's finest recordings made available again. Thank you!
  Another Side of Ellington
When I think of the Duke, I think of the Blanton/Webster Recordings, the OKEH recordings and standard sidemen like Johnny Hodges. Duke seemed to experiment more in his later years and these recordings are a product of that innovation. I like the different approach to Take the A Train - reminds of the creative version on the set of Ellington's Reprise Recordings, also by Mosaic. Keep the Duke sets coming!
  A unknown classic; absolutley fantastic
First off, the remastering for cd is stunning; it sounds better than most records made today. Ellington made WAY WAY to many great records, so today many are confused or overwhelmed by his genius. For those who are patient and interested enough to collect him music, it is truly incredible to be getting my 40th of so 5 star Ellington cd. This small group plays some great arrangements of standards and originals. Paul Gonsalves's reading of "Body & Soul" is easily the best solo I have ever heard from him, and one of the best tenor solos, Ive heard in general. And what kind of rythm is being used for "St. Louis Blues"? Its so completly unique and unlike anything the "new wave" of jazz artist at the time would have ever thunk of.
  Duke Ellingtpn's Spacemen The Cosmic Scene
This was the first jazz album I ever heard as a little kid. I took my dad's vinyl copy to college with me and someone took it. Many years later I am so happy to find it again...especially in stereo. This is truly a rediscovered treasure. Evidently Paul Gonsalves wasn't sleeping on the bandstand during this session. Great stuff!
  Absolutely Fantastic
Great record, beautiful sound, tons of swing!! Does anybody need anything else? Another great Mosaic record!
  Done right
I have the original lp of this session, short, sweet and mono, and was glad that Mosaic decided to step in and bring out the first U.S. cd reissue. They've done a great job! The remastered sound by Mark Wilder is right up there with his usual clear and crisp work. There are original notes and new liners by Mosaic's Scott Wenzel. This is a fun and swinging session that is sure to please fans of Duke's 'fifties Columbia period.

Duke Ellington - The Cosmic Scene (MCD-1001)
Duke Ellington - The Cosmic Scene (MCD-1001)
Limited Edition: copies
1 CD - $15.00

Customer Reviews:

"Great record, beautiful sound, tons of swing!! Does anybody need anything else? Another great Mosaic record!"
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Audio Clips

Play: 100
Body and Soul
Play: 100
Early Autumn
Play: 100

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Limited Edition Photographs

Selected images became the album cover shots for Blue Note's brilliant designer Reid Miles, and are instantly recognized by millions. Now, museum-quality prints in limited editions can be owned forever... But only by a few.

Each image will be made available for one month only. At the end of that month, only the images ordered will be printed and that will be the end of the Limited Edition.