, not by rehashing music performed by the Kenton Orchestrano matter how forward-leaning that may have beenbut rather by renovating a few themes associated with Kenton (and quite a few others that weren't) in the manner in which Stan conceivably might have approached them if he were alive today. Among the album's dozen tracks are three that are explicitly bound to Kenton: "Intermission Riff," "The Peanut Vendor," and his venerable theme song, "Artistry in Rhythm," which raises the curtain on this picturesque and ambitious studio session.
Richmond wrote three numbers"Horizon Under," "Anchor of Hope," "Poetry"and arranged everything, from Johnny Mandel
's "Virna" to the standard "Willow Weep for Me" and a trio of songs from Hollywood films: "Invitation," "Over the Rainbow" and "Zippidy Altered," Richmond's modern adaptation of the Academy Award-winning song from 1946, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." The liner notes consist of lengthy analyses of the songs, with Richmond explaining clearly the framework and purpose of each one, starting with "Artistry in Rhythm," which embodies all the elements of the original, reinforced by Bob Carr
Steve Hufffsteter's trumpet, Budman's soprano and Glen Berger's tenor saxophone are the solo voices on "Horizon Under," which opens in Sauter / Finegan style (martial drums set against chirping trumpets) before settling into a gentle groove enhanced by John Proulx
's wordless vocal. "Anchor of Hope," which runs for more than fifteen minutes, is the album's centerpiece, spanning a variety of moods and colors from choral to Latin, ballad to swing, and enfolding earnest solos by Berger, tombonist Joey Sellers
makes his lone appearance on "Seascape," his sensuous flute brightening Mandel's lovely ballad prior to Richmond's superb alto solo on Bronislau Kaper's haunting, dark-hued "Invitation" and buoyant statements by guitarist Tom Hynes
and precedes Richmond's second solo feature, Ann Ronell's ballad "Willow Weep for Me," on which he is typically awesome.
This leads to "Zippidy Altered," wherein Richmond stands Allie Wrubel's unforgettable tune on its ear so that, in his words, "only the contour remains." While that's better than nothingand Richmond is certainly entitled to make whatever changes suit his planthose who love the melody as originally written (some reviewers among them) may be less than charmed by the revisions. The album closes on a more auspicious note with "Poetry," an enchanting orchestral tone poem on which Proulx's expressive vocal once again undergirds the ensemble. In sum, a remarkable tribute to one of the big-band era's musical giants, admirably scored by Richmond and splendidly performed by the exemplary Concert Jazz Orchestra, which lives up to its name in every respect.
Track Listing: Artistry in Rhythm; Horizon Under; Anchor of Hope; Intermission Riff;
Seascape; Invitation; Over the Rainbow; The Peanut Vendor; Virna; Willow
Weep for Me; Zippidy Altered; Poetry.
Personnel: Kim Richmond: leader, conductor, composer, arranger, alto sax; Bob
O’Donnell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ron King: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jamie
Hovorka: trumpet, flugelhorn; Steve Huffsteter: trumpet, flugelhorn;
Brian Swartz: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alex Budman: alto, soprano sax,
flute, piccolo; Bob Crosby: alto sax, oboe, flute; Glen Berger: tenor
sax, flute, clarinet; John Yoakum: tenor sax, flute, English horn; Bob
Carr: baritone sax, bass clarinet, bassoon; John Dickson: French horn;
Stephanie O’Keefe: French horn; Bill Roper: tuba; Ryan Dragon:
trombone; Joey Sellers: trombone; George McMullen: trombone; Craig
Gosnell: bass trombone; Tom Hynes: guitar; Andy Langham: piano; Trey
Henry: bass; Ralph Razze: drums; David Johnson: mallet percussion
(vibes, timpani, orchestra bells, chimes); Scott Breadman: Latin /
hand percussion; John Proulx: wordless vocals. Special guest — Hubert
Laws: flute (5).