1. Introduction: Artistry in Rhythm
2. Stomping at the Savoy
4. Love for Sale
5. Out of Nowhere
6. Royal Blue
8. 23 Derees North, 82 Degrees West
9. Concerto to End All Concertos
11. Intermission Riff
12. Polka Dots and Moonbeams
13. The Peanut Vendor
14. Stella by Starlight
15. Swing House
18. Young Blood
19. Closer: Artistry in Rhythm
Stan Kenton - Piano
Sam Noto, Vinnie Tanno, Lee Katzman, Phil Gilbert - Trumpets
Bob Fitzpatrick, Carl Fontana, Kent Larsen - Trombones
Don Kelly - Bass trombone
Irving Rosenthal, Fred Fox - French horns
Jay McAllister - Tuba
Lennie Niehaus - Alto sax
Bill Perkins, Don Rendell - Tenor saxes
Harry Klein - Baritone sax
Ralph Blaze - Guitar
Curtis Counce - Bass
Mel Lewis - Drums
This double album contains the whole of a concert that the Stan Kenton Orchestra gave in Germany in 1956. Because he was short of musicians for his European tour, Kenton hired two British musicians - tenorist Don Rendell and baritone saxist Harry Klein, who both acquit themselves well.
The concert starts with Stan's signature Artistry in Rhythm, given a new touch with Latin-American percussion clattering in the background. Then the band goes into a swinging version of Stompin' at the Savoy, one of several arrangements by the talented Bill Holman. Tenorist Bill Perkins said that "Swinging really wasn't Stan's cup of tea, but you've got to give him credit, he respected Bill's abilities and gave him every opportunity". Holman's arrangements provide some of the highlights of the concert, such as Out of Nowhere and Yesterdays, both of which give Bill Perkins the chance to shine in extended solos. Holman does the same for trombonist Carl Fontana in Carl and Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Carl quotes Ain't She Sweet in his solo!), and for altoist Lennie Niehaus in a frenetic Cherokee and Stella by Starlight (which morphs from ballad to fast swing, propelled by Mel Lewis's drums). Holman's composition Royal Blue is an intricate piece which gives Don Rendell his first solo opportunity with the band.
The other arrangers include Pete Rugolo (who turns Love for Sale into a frantic orchestral melange), and Gerry Mulligan, whose Swing House and Young Blood have voicings that echo the famous Mulligan Quartet. We also get energetic versions of old Kenton favourites like Concerto to End All Concertos and Intermission Riff. Don Rendell interacts neatly with Bill Perkins in the latter.
This album catches one of the best Kenton bands in top form, with more than 80 minutes of music. If you shop around, you can buy it at budget price.