A banda de Stan Kenton foi uma das minhas primeiras paixões. Depois de ouvi-la pela primeira vez, aos 14 anos de idade, todas as demais orquestras passaram para um plano secundário na minha preferência. Aquela sonoridade incrível, moderna, as dissonâncias, as tensões, os arranjos completamente diferentes dos padrões vigentes, mudaram a minha vida. (Aliás, não só a minha, mas de gente muito importante, como JOÃO DONATO, pra citar apenas um dos maiores "kentomaníacos").
Stanley Newcomb Kenton (December 15, 1911 – August 25, 1979) was a pianist who led a highly innovative, influential, and often controversial American jazz orchestra. Stan Kenton was born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised first in Colorado and then in California. He learned piano as a child, and while still a teenager toured with various bands. In June 1941 he formed his own band, which developed into one of the best-known West Coast ensembles of the Forties. Kenton played in the 1930's in the dance bands of Vido Musso and Gus Arnheim, but his natural inclination was as a band leader. As a competent pianist, influenced by Earl Hines, Kenton was much more important in the early days as an arranger and inspiration for his loyal sidemen. Its soloists during the war years included Art Pepper, briefly Stan Getz, altoist Boots Mussulli, and singer Anita O'Day. By 1945 the band had evolved quite a bit.
Pete Rugolo became the chief arranger (extending Kenton's ideas), Bob Cooper and Vido Musso offered very different tenor styles, and June Christy was Kenton's new singer; her hits (including "Tampico" and "Across the Alley From the Alamo") made it possible for Kenton to finance his more ambitious projects. A popular recording of "Laura" was made, the theme song from the film Laura (starring actress Gene Tierney), and featured the voices of the band. Calling his music "progressive jazz," Kenton sought to lead a concert orchestra as opposed to a dance band at a time when most big bands were starting to break up. In 1949 Kenton took a year off. In 1950 he put together his most advanced band, the 39-piece Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra that included 16 strings, a woodwind section, and two French horns. Its music ranged from the unique and very dense modern classical charts of Bob Graettinger to works that somehow swung despite the weight. Such major players as Maynard Ferguson (whose high-note acrobatics set new standards), Shorty Rogers, Milt Bernhart, John Graas, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Laurindo Almeida, Shelly Manne, and June Christy were part of this remarkable project, but from a commercial standpoint, it was really impossible. Kenton managed two tours during 1950-1951 but soon reverted to his usual 19-piece lineup.
Then quite unexpectedly, Kenton went through a swinging period. The charts of such arrangers as Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan, Lennie Niehaus, Marty Paich, Johnny Richards, and particularly Bill Holman and Bill Russo began to dominate the repertoire. Such talented players (in addition to the ones already named) as Lee Konitz, Conte Candoli, Sal Salvador, Stan Levey, Frank Rosolino, Richie Kamuca, Zoot Sims, Sam Noto, Bill Perkins, Charlie Mariano, Mel Lewis, Pete Candoli, Lucky Thompson, Carl Fontana, Pepper Adams, and Jack Sheldon made strong contributions. The music was never predictable and could get quite bombastic, but it managed to swing while still keeping the Kenton sound.
Kenton's last successful experiment was his mellophonium band of 1960-1963. Despite the difficulties in keeping the four mellophoniums (Gene Roland, Joe Burnett, Bill Horan and Tom Wirtel et al. which formed their own separate section) in tune, this particular Kenton orchestra had its exciting moments.
Kenton was a salient figure on the American musical scene and made an indelible mark on the arranged type of big band jazz. Kenton's music evolved with the times throughout the 1960s and 70s. He promoted jazz and jazz improvisation through his service as an educator. The "Kenton Style" continues to permeate big bands at the high school and collegiate level, and the framework he designed for the "jazz clinic" is still widely in use today. His music has experienced a resurgence in interest, with later critical "rediscovery" of his music and many reissues of his recordings. Kenton continued leading and touring with his big band up to his final performance in August, 1979, a week before he suffered a stroke while on tour in Reading, PA. Kenton did not recover and passed away on August 25, 1979.
(Source: Wikipedia, edited by CB)
This LP features the Stan Kenton Orchestra (during the period when it had a mellophonium section) performing some of its familiar standards and a few newer songs with a light Brazilian rhythm provided by percussionists Frank Guerrero and Milt Holland (Larry Bunker fills in for Holland on three songs). Although one might consider this project to be an example of Kenton jumping on the bandwagon (since the bossa nova fad was at its peak at the time), the music is quite enjoyable. Kenton on piano is the main soloist throughout, with Conte Candoli having a couple solos on trumpet and high-note trumpeter Bud Brisbois getting a few spots. Kenton's "Brasilia" is a charming piece deserving to be revived. Otherwise, it is interesting to hear such songs as "Interlude," "Concerto to End All Concertos," "Eager Beaver," and even "Artistry in Rhythm" in this setting.
(By Scott Yanow)
MINHA OPINIÃO - este álbum foi gravado na leva da "bossa-nova-craze" nos USA, quando TODO MUNDO gravou um álbum com a novidade. Como sempre, diferente em tudo, Kenton não se abasteceu dos standards da bossa, preferindo gravar suas próprias, personalíssimas e instigantes composições. Uma delas, a belíssima OPUS IN CHARTREUSE, segundo as más línguas, inspirou a futura composição de Roberto Menescal e Chico Buarque, "Bye, bye Brasil". (Pessoalmente, acho essa afirmativa uma
maldade, apesar da grande semelhança das frases iniciais). As formações orquestrais de Kenton eram uma verdadeira academia, por onde passaram os maiores músicos e arranjadores do "west-coast-jazz". Os arranjos como sempre, brilhantes; o único senão é o canhestro ritmo de bossa-nova, que os americanos levaram anos para assimilar e que transformava tudo em rumba...Apesar disso: BELEZA PURA!
(*)Essa coisa de coicidências musicais, por culpa do insconsciente , é comum. Certa vez eu "compus" uma música linda. Corri prá mostrar pro Raymundo Bittencourt que ouviu atenciosamente e, no final, mandou: "Ficou bonito esse arranjo de SERENADE IN BLUE." Acontece...
Stan Kenton: Artistry in Bossa Nova
Release Date: Apr 17, 1963
Label: Creative World
01 Artistry in Rhythm
02 Opus in Chartreuse
05 Eager Beaver
08 Painted Rhythm
09 Opus in Pastels
10 Jump for Joe
12 Artistry in Bossa Nova