When the Space Shuttle Atlantis launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Thursday, December 6th on its mission to deliver the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station, Astronaut Leland Melvin will have in tow a copy of Quincy Jones' 1969 Grammy Award winning recording "Walking in Space," which he will use as his wake-up music during the mission.
"Quincy Jones is someone who I have a great deal of respect and admiration for and I couldn't think of a more appropriate selection to use as my wake-up music," says Melvin.
"I am truly honored that Mr. Melvin has chosen one of my pieces of work for this momentous occasion," replied Jones. "I was inspired to record the 'Walking in Space' album in 1969 after Buzz Aldrin told me that he had played my arrangement of Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me To The Moon' during his space flight to the moon, so to have it come full circle like this is quite remarkable and very humbling."
A jazz-R&B-pop fusion album that helped usher in a new era in R&B music in the early 70's, "Walking in Space" won Jones a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance By a Large Group. Citing his groundbreaking work on "Walking in Space," in 1998 Time Magazine named Quincy Jones one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th Century. In January, Jones will receive the nation's highest jazz honor when he is recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.