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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Crotchet

STAN KENTON

Reed Rapture

The Complete MacGregor Transcriptions Vol. 3

1941-1943

Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120684

 

 

  1. Theme: Artistry in Rhythm
  2. Popocatapetl
  3. Cancel the Flowers
  4. Underneath the Stars
  5. Low Bridge
  6. Would It Have Made Any Difference to You
  7. Take the ‘A’ Train
  8. Flamingo
  9. Blues In F Minor
  10. Take It From the Oven
  11. Taboo
  12. Adios
  13. This Love of Mine
  14. The Nango
  15. Gambler’s Blues
  16. Lamento Gitano
  17. Reed Rapture
  18. Concerto for Doghouse
  19. El Choclo
  20. Eager Beaver
  21. Shoo Shoo Baby
  22. Liza

Most people are unaware that Stan Kenton’s Band started out as a pretty conventional dance orchestra and only slowly developed into the concert band we all know and love. These tracks are interesting, because the features that made the Kenton Band different, are just starting to develop and in what was only a two-year period significant progress was already made. Shortly after this period the band made the first of the famous Capitol sessions, which brought the band worldwide recognition. Some of the facets of this earlier band were retained, the reeds continued to play sophisticated soli passages, but the Capitol sax section adopted an altogether cooler sound.

Very few of the band members made it through this period, only trombonist Harry Forbes, tenor man Red Dorris, baritone player Bob Gioga and Kenton himself. The band also changed in structure, the 1943 session had 5 trumpets against 3 in 1941, a bass bone was added and Art Pepper a jazz giant of the future had joined the saxophone section.

Stan Kenton himself always seemed to me to be more interested in producing a band with a new and different sound, than he was in swing, thank goodness that he employed musicians who wanted to swing, otherwise it could have been a dull affair! I would not like to give the impression that the 1941 band was not an interesting one, but it was similar to most of the other bands of the period. The sentimental vocal dept. in particular was in every band. Low Bridge could have been from any of the big bands around at the time. Even Take the ‘A’ Train is the Billy Strayhorn arrangement originally written for the Ellington band. Blues in F Minor starts to hint at the Kenton bands of the future as does Take It From the Oven, although there is more than a touch of Basie here. It is when we get to Eager Beaver that we start to here the shape of things to come.

For anyone interested in knowing how the Kenton band developed into one of the most exciting of all big band, will be fascinated by this series of transcriptions. Like every Naxos disc I have reviewed, the sound quality is excellent.

Don Mather

 

 



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