Reissue with latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the first albums to ever issue recordings made at the Newport Jazz Festival – quite a big hit, and the beginning of a real trend in jazz! The set's also some great work by Duke – free to perform in a setting that's not bound by some of the time restrictions of earlier years, which lets him offer up three long tracks with a great deal of sophistication over previous recordings. Due to bad mike placement on stage, the original "live" album was actually a studio re-creation; the actual live performance was never issued-until now. This 2-CD set contains the complete original album and the hour-plus concert. More than 100 minutes of new music, and the whole thing's in stereo for the first time!
This modest, single-CD compilation remains an excellent introduction to Duke Ellngton's work as composer and bandleader, two indistinguishable roles. It includes many of the original recordings of his most familiar songs, reaching back to the 1930s for the swinging "It Don't Mean a Thing" and the exotic "Caravan" and forward to the 1950s for "Satin Doll." The first 10 tracks appear here in their original monaural sound, and they're an authentic account of the early years of Ellington's marvelous band–with the rich, smooth saxophone textures of Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney, the soaring muted trumpets of Cootie Williams and Rex Stewart, and the unadorned musicality of Ivie Anderson's voice. If you want a CD with just the most famous tunes, or if you want to introduce someone to Ellington's music in all its regal brilliance, this is a good place to start.
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, with thematic repackagings of his signature music often becoming best-sellers…
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" in 1958, 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 down even more progressive paths.