COMPOSERS: Stan Kenton
ALBUM TITLE: Stan Kenton
CATALOGUE NO: CHCD 71051
STAN KENTON died on 25 August 1979. Where there was once the multi-decibel roar of his orchestra, the screech of dissonance and the clamour of controversy, suddenly there was silence. And it has remained that way ever since, so quickly did the memory of his impact fade.
Yet for four decades Kenton was a ubiquitous figure on the jazz landscape; he was a larger-than-life personality and everything about him, including his music, was prodigious. In 1950 he led a 40-piece behemoth called Innovations in Modern Music that included a large string section, but by 1951, the year of One Night Stand, Kenton had dropped the strings.
The disc features arrangements by Shorty Rogers, Pete Rugolo and Ray Wetzel, spiced by soloists such as Rogers, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper and Shelly Manne. Taken from the AFRS One Night Stand broadcasts from the Click Club in Philadelphia, the band is captured at its peak. And in numbers like ‘Southern Scandal’, ‘Eager Beaver’ and ‘Laura’, Kenton’s musicians sound inspired and inspiring.
Six years later Kenton was leading another fine orchestra, this time with Sam Noto on trumpet, Lennie Niehaus on alto and Bill Perkins on tenor. Stompin’ at Newport presents their previously unissued Newport Jazz Festival appearance from 5 July 1957.
‘The Opener’, ‘23 Degrees North, 82 Degrees West’ and ‘Young Blood’ feature the swirling tone colours, signature stabbing brass figures and the powerful drumming of Jerry McKenzie that make you wonder how Kenton’s contribution to jazz became so quickly forgotten.