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Stan Kenton

Read Stan Kenton's biography



Stan Kenton - Cuban Fire! [Capitol T 731] (1956)

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ITEM# SR-CAT731
Ratings:C=VG-; LP=VG-

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Artist:

Stan Kenton

Title:

Cuban Fire!

Orig. Released: 1956
This Release: Unknown
Label: Capitol
Catalog: T 731
Pressing: Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Scranton
Genre: Jazz, Latin


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Fuego Cubano (Cuban Fire)
02 El Congo Valiente (Valiant Congo)
03 Recuerdos (Reminiscences)
04 Quien Sabe (Who Knows)
05 La Guera Baila (The Fair One)
06 La Suerte De Los Tontos (Fortunes Of Fools)
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Album Review

Scott Yanow [allmusic.com]

This CD contains one of the classic Stan Kenton albums, a six-part suite composed and arranged by Johnny Richards. The Kenton orchestra was expanded to 27 pieces for these dates including six percussionists, two French horns and six trumpets. With such soloists as tenor-great Lucky Thompson (on ''Fuego Cubano,'') trombonist Carl Fontana, altoist Lennie Niehaus, Bill Perkins on tenor and trumpeters Sam Noto and Vinnie Tanno, and plenty of raging ensembles, this is one of Stan Kenton's more memorable concept albums of the 1950s.


Stan Kenton - Stan Kenton Today [London Phase 4 BP 44179/80] (1972)

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ITEM# SR-LOBP44179-80
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

Orders placed now will ship by the end of August 2020.

Artist:

Stan Kenton

Title:

Stan Kenton Today

Released: 1972
Label: London Phase 4
Catalog: BP 44179/80
Genre: Big Band / Jazz
T R A C K L I S T:
01 What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life
02 Chiapas
03 Opus In Pastels
04 Malagueña
05 Artistry In Percussion
06 Yesterdays
07 Fringe Benefit
08 Bogota
09 Intermission Riff
10 Ambivalence
11 Interlude
12 Peanut Vendor
13 Malaga
14 Walk Softly
15 Take The "A" Train
16 Artistry In Rhythm
17 God Save The Queen
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Album Review

Scott Yanow [allmusic.com]

This double LP with its lengthy liner notes does not give a complete listing of the personnel of Stan Kenton's 1972 orchestra; an unintentional but ironically understandable omission because Kenton's young band had few original personalities at this point. Other than veteran Willie Maiden (heard here on baritone), the soloists are at best semi-obscure. However, the musicianship is flawless and the repertoire for this Stan Kenton Today set is dominated by old classics including "Malagueña," "Intermission Riff," "Interlude," "Artistry in Percussion" and naturally, "The Peanut Vendor." Fans of college stage bands should enjoy this spirited music.

Stan Kenton's Biography

Scott Yanow [allmusic.com]

There have been few jazz musicians as consistently controversial as Stan Kenton. Dismissed by purists of various genres while loved by many others, Kenton ranks up there with Chet Baker and Sun Ra as jazz's top cult figure. He led a succession of highly original bands that often emphasized emotion, power, and advanced harmonies over swing, and this upset listeners who felt that all big bands should aim to sound like Count Basie. Kenton always had a different vision.

Kenton played in the 1930s in the dance bands of Vido Musso and Gus Arnheim, but he was born to be a leader. In 1941 he formed his first orchestra, which later was named after his theme song "Artistry in Rhythm." A decent Earl Hines-influenced pianist, Kenton was much more important in the early days as an arranger and inspiration for his loyal sidemen. Although there were no major names in his first band (bassist Howard Rumsey and trumpeter Chico Alvarez come the closest), Kenton spent the summer of 1941 playing regularly before a very alan_parsonsreciative audience at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa Beach, CA. Influenced by Jimmie Lunceford (who, like Kenton, enjoyed high-note trumpeters and thick-toned tenors), the Stan Kenton Orchestra struggled a bit after its initial success. Its Decca recordings were not big sellers and a stint as Bob Hope's backup radio band was an unhalan_parsonsy experience; Les Brown permanently took Kenton's place.

By late 1943 with a Capitol contract, a popular record in "Eager Beaver," and growing recognition, the Stan Kenton Orchestra was gradually catching on. Its soloists during the war years included Art Pepper, briefly Stan Getz, altoist Boots Mussulli, and singer Anita O'Day. By 1945 the band had evolved quite a bit. Pete Rugolo became the chief arranger (extending Kenton's ideas), Bob Cooper and Vido Musso offered very different tenor styles, and June Christy was Kenton's new singer; her popular hits (including "Tampico" and "Across the Alley From the Alamo") made it possible for Kenton to finance his more ambitious projects. Calling his music "progressive jazz," Kenton sought to lead a concert orchestra as opposed to a dance band at a time when most big bands were starting to break up. By 1947 Kai Winding was greatly influencing the sound of Kenton's trombonists, the trumpet section included such screamers as Buddy Childers, Ray Wetzel, and Al Porcino, Jack Costanzo's bongos were bringing Latin rhythms into Kenton's sound, and a riotous version of "The Peanut Vendor" contrasted with the somber "Elegy for Alto." Kenton had succeeded in forming a radical and very original band that gained its own audience.

In 1949 Kenton took a year off. In 1950 he put together his most advanced band, the 39-piece Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra that included 16 strings, a woodwind section, and two French horns. Its music ranged from the unique and very dense modern classical charts of Bob Graettinger to works that somehow swung despite the weight. Such major players as Maynard Ferguson (whose high-note acrobatics set new standards), Shorty Rogers, Milt Bernhart, John Graas, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Laurindo Almeida, Shelly Manne, and June Christy were part of this remarkable project, but from a commercial standpoint, it was really impossible. Kenton managed two tours during 1950-1951 but soon reverted to his usual 19-piece lineup. Then quite unexpectedly, Kenton went through a swinging period. The charts of such arrangers as Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan, Lennie Niehaus, Marty Paich, Johnny Richards, and particularly Bill Holman and Bill Russo began to dominate the repertoire. Such talented players (in addition to the ones already named) as Lee Konitz, Conte Candoli, Sal Salvador, Stan Levey, Frank Rosolino, Richie Kamuca, Zoot Sims, Sam Noto, Bill Perkins, Charlie Mariano, Mel Lewis, Pete Candoli, Lucky Thompson, Carl Fontana, Pepper Adams, and Jack Sheldon made strong contributions. The music was never predictable and could get quite bombastic, but it managed to swing while still keeping the Kenton sound.

Kenton's last successful experiment was his mellophonium band of 1960-1963. Despite the difficulties in keeping the four mellophoniums (which formed their own separate section) in tune, this particular Kenton orchestra had its exciting moments. However from 1963 on, the flavor of the Kenton big band began to change. Rather than using talented soloists, Kenton emphasized relatively inexpensive youth at the cost of originality. While the arrangements (including those of Hank Levy) continued to be quite challenging, after Gabe Baltazar's "graduation" in 1965, there were few new important Kenton alumni (other than Peter Erskine and Tim Hagans). For many of the young players, touring with Kenton would be the high point of their careers rather than just an important early step. Kenton Plays Wagner (1964) was an important project, but by then the bandleader's attention was on jazz education. By conducting a countless number of clinics and making his charts available to college and high-school stage bands, Kenton insured that there would be many bands that sounded like his, and the inverse result was that his own young orchestra sounded like a professional college band! Kenton continued leading and touring with his big band up until his death in 1979.

Kenton recorded for Capitol for 25 years (1943-1968) and in the 1970s formed his Creative World label to reissue most of his Capitol output and record his current band. In recent times Capitol has begun reissuing Kenton's legacy on CD and there have been two impressive Mosaic box sets.
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