LABELS: Capitol Jazz
WORKS: Easy Go
PERFORMER: Stan Kenton (p) with his big band
CATALOGUE NO: 5 24553 2
Kenton, who died in 1979, still remains an enormously controversial figure. He was omnipresent in jazz during the late Forties and Fifties and his recorded legacy is huge. Some of it is unimaginably overbearing, some innovative, some just plain awful, and some like this album, a model of well-executed, imaginatively arranged big band jazz.
For many the 1950-2 band was Kenton’s finest ensemble, with arrangements by Shorty Rogers, Pete Rugolo, Johnny Richards and Bill Russo. With exceptionally strong soloists such as the Condoli brothers on trumpet, Bob Fitzpatrick’s elegant trombone, Art Pepper and Bud Shank on saxes and lifted by the imaginative drumming of Shelly Manne it gave lie to the myth that Kenton never swung.
Most of the 20 titles here, such as ‘Viva Prado’, ‘Theme for Alto’, ‘Riff Rhapsody’ and ‘Love for Sale’ have never been issued on CD, and reveal a jazz side to Kenton’s complicated psyche that was often buried under the celebrated walls of brass. Stuart Nicholson