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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stan Kenton Orchestra: Kenton Roars! At the Golden Lion

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1969 was a year of transition for Stan Kenton and his orchestra, one in which Kenton's long-term contract with Capitol Records was ended, which led in turn to the establishment of his own label, Creative World. The orchestra itself remained active, motoring back and forth to one-night stands and brief engagements in various locales. What it did not do was enter a studio to produce a lasting narrative of its prowess. Luckily, a blemish-free tape of one of the orchestra's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Road Scholars Live

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For more than twenty years, the Stan Kenton Alumni Band has kept the pulse of big-band jazz strongly beating through regular touring under the direction of trumpet master Mike Vax, who served as the Orchestra's first trumpet, soloist and road manager (and also spent one year leading The Dukes of Dixieland, a genuine New Orleans musical treasure) before assuming leadership of the Stan Kenton Alumni Band. Road Scholars Live captures this Band in their element: Blowing hot and ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Road Scholars

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Road Scholars? A clever title indeed, but these gentlemen (and three ladies) are more akin to “road maestros," an appraisal that is abundantly clear from A to Z on this latest recording by trumpeter Mike Vax's turbo-charged Stan Kenton Alumni Band, taped at various concerts during the band's 2013 spring tour, a two-week, three-thousand-mile odyssey that encompassed a dozen concerts in six states and the District of Columbia. About four thousand people were lucky enough to see and hear the ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stan Kenton: Road Shows

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For younger readers: yes, there was a time long ago when large groups of talented jazz musicians traveled without respite from city to city and town to town, braving one-night stands or more night after night in (mostly) sold-out concert halls, dance halls, pavilions, nightclubs, schools and other venues. They were known as big bands, so enormously popular that they even had their own “era," and the world may never see their like again, at least not on the road. ...

BIG BAND REPORT

Did Stan Kenton Swing? You Bet Your Walkin' Shoes He Did...

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I've been listening to a lot of Stan Kenton's music recently while coming to grips with the age-old question, did the Kenton orchestra really swing? The answer, to me, is a no-brainer: Yes, Kenton swung. Liberally and often. [Note: This of course depends on how “swinging" is defined; opinions may vary]. In his own way--although he'd have been loath to admit it--Kenton's series of orchestras swung as hard as anyone, even Basie, Herman or Rich. For assurance, one need look ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Stan Kenton: Artistry in Rhythm - Portrait Of A Jazz Legend

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Stan KentonArtistry In Rhythm: Portrait Of A Jazz LegendJazzed Media2011 “I thought that [Stan] was an echo of life itself: that life is precious, life is exquisite, and life is magnificent. He lived it, and his legacy points to some of those values. Whether we are able to interpret them or not, they are there." That's noted jazz historian, educator and author Dr. Herb Wong, having (almost) the last word on ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stan Kenton Alumni Band: Have Band, Will Travel (Live)

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Stan Kenton Alumni Band Have Band, Will Travel (Live) Summit Records 2010

For over two decades, trumpeter Mike Vax, a veteran of the 1970-72 Stan Kenton Orchestra, has been a tireless crusader maintaining the legacy of his erstwhile boss, who died at age 67 in 1979. Have Band, Will Travel (Live) is the Stan Kenton Alumni Band's fourth recording for the Summit label. It maintains the ensemble's commitment to Kenton not only through music ...

BIG BAND REPORT

Salute to Stan Kenton: Artistry in Contrast

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Artistry in Rhythm, the Ken Poston / Los Angeles Jazz Institute's 2009 homage to the renowned bandleader Stan Kenton, was held October 8-11 at the Sheraton LAX Four Points Hotel. As always, there was much to see, hear and admire: films, panel discussions, special presentations and, last but not least, no fewer than nineteen concerts by groups large and small including four lunchtime events at the Sheraton's outdoor swimming pool. A number of Kenton alumni were there, almost all of ...



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