Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Stan Kenton Kenton in Hi-Fi Capitol 1956
Stan Kenton was born in Wichita, Kansas. He would later move to Colorado at a young and also to California. Can't find much on how much time he spent in Kansas, but nevertheless, he was born in the state.
Looking at records and photos of the guy, he looks awful square for a jazz musician. More square than Glenn Miller. It's not like he was on a label known for spitting out ultra-hip Jazz in Capitol, either. So, all indications, not that cool of a guy (there's also some personal issues going on with Kenton, but I'm just saying as a Jazz musician right now, he's no Coltrane). However, listening to some of his material, there are some definite high points and creative exploration. I have some 10"s of his that really surprised me, nothing I would call abstract, but certainly not expected. He was initially focused on what he termed "progressive jazz," focusing on movement and shying away from anything considered to be dance music.
Later, he explored the big band sound and attempted to maintain creative exploration within the tunes. This LP represents that period. It does swing, you could dance to it easily, but it wasn't cut and dry and maintained the Kenton sound. It also further explored the Kenton Wall of Sound that he developed previously in the 1940's. He layers everything up, so much so it feels as if your speakers could explode. Phil Spector would use the term later when recording his doo-wop masterpieces and rock and roll.
His personal stuff I'll share another time. Rather focus on the good for now. The artists this guy worked with and brought to the scene is incredible. Just a few, June Christy, Chris Connor, Art Pepper, Neal Hefti, Stan Getz, Kai Winding, Maynard Ferguson, Lee Konitz, Bud Shank; it's an amazing list that just goes on and on. I mean, it's almost as if you had to first play in Kenton's band prior to venturing out as a stand alone musician.
Artistry in Boogie & Minor Riff