Stan Kenton: Kenton ’76

The Songs:

  1. Time For A Change
  2. Send In The Clowns
  3. Tiburon
  4. My Funny Valentine
  5. Decoupage
  6. A Smith Named Greg
  7. Samba De Haps

Personnel:

  • Stan Kenton – piano
  • John Harner, Jay Sollenberger, Steve Campos, Jim Oatts, Tim Hagans – trumpet
  • Dick Shearer, Dave Keim, Mike Egan, Alan Morrissey – trombone
  • Doug Purviance – bass trombone, tuba
  • Terry Layne – alto saxophone, flute
  • Roy Reynolds, Dan Salmasian – tenor saxophone, flute
  • Alan Yankee, Greg Smith – baritone saxophone, flute
  • Dave Stone – bass
  • Gary Hobbs – drums
  • Ramón Lopez – congas, percussion

During Stan Kenton’s final decade, he made a series of recordings, most of which were live albums recorded at a host of college campuses around the country. Of the handful of studio sessions, Kenton ’76  easily stands out as the best of the bunch. Kenton’s young band played with great passion and precision. Not only did they play well, but they sounded great, too. It is was one of the best engineered big band recordings of the 1970’s, with a presence that makes you feel right in the room with them.

The real highlight, though, is the material. The album features three originals by longtime collaborator Hank Levy, in addition to a new chart (“Tiburon”), by Bill Holman, (an even more longtime arranger for the band). It also featured up and coming composer/arranger Mark Taylor on the album’s energetic closer, “Samba de Haps”. The two standout arrangements on the record were ballad standards arranged by Dave Barduhn: “My Funny Valentine” and Stephen Sondheim’s wistful “Send In The Clowns”, both of which feature simple, poignant solos from the bandleader himself. A classic recording from the master of big band innovation. (Buy it here.)

This week’s post is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Lance Boyd, jazz and low brass instructor at the University of Montana. Lance is retiring at the end of this school year and gave his final concert last night. In a career spanning over 40 years at UM, he inspired and influenced hundreds of students with his dedication to excellence. I had the distinct pleasure of performing all but one of the songs on this album under his leadership. Congratulations on a job well done, my friend!

Suggested Viewing:

Stan Kenton. Artistry In Rhythm.

Suggested Reading:

Michael Sparke. Stan Kenton: This Is An Orchestra.

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