While anthologies and compilation CDs are fine and good, nothing recalls jazz history with as much directness as an LP reissue. Jazz happens in sessions rather than retrospectives, and Mosaic Records recently launched the Mosaic Singles series to put back into print a few of those yesteryear recordings that deserve to be heard in their original context. Among these newly reissued albums is The Cosmic Scene, a 1958 one-off session with Duke Ellington directing a nonet he dubbed The Spacemen.
Essentially a select, condensed incarnation of Ellington’s big band, The Spacemen featured the adventurous Clark Terry bebopping on flugelhorn alongside stout-toned Newport hero Paul Gonsalves. The group swings with zest through a standards set that beautifully meshes bop technicality with swing-era compositional grandeur.