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

Mike Vax
Mike Vax

trumpet
, a veteran of the 1970-72 Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton
1911 - 1979
piano
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 performed by the original band, but also through modern compositions and arrangements which fit comfortably with the Kenton aesthetic. Audio engineer Tom Johnson has brilliantly captured the sound and spirit of this ensemble in his location recordings.



"The New Intermission Riff," Kim Richmond

Kim Richmond
Kim Richmond

saxophone
's update of the classic Ray Wetzel
Ray Wetzel
b.1924
swinger which remained in the active Kenton library until the band's demise in 1978, features a clever orchestration of Carl Fontana
Carl Fontana
Carl Fontana
1928 - 2003
trombone
's trombone solo (alas, edited out of the pioneering stereo version) from the LP Kenton In Hi-Fi (Capitol, 1956), plus Alex Murzyn's tenor sax and Vax's stratospheric trumpet. Richmond (Kenton Class of 1968) returns as alto soloist on his own arrangement of Bronislau Kaper's "Invitation."

Trombonist Dale DeVoe (Kenton Class of 1973) contributes his sensitive setting of the Italian ballad "Softly As I Leave You" , with pianist Liz Sesler-Beckman and the Harmon-muted trumpet of Don Rader

Don Rader
b.1935
trumpet
sparkling over rich ensemble voicings inspired by the late Dee Barton's chart of "Here's That Rainy Day." Rader and Steve Huffsteter (Kenton Class of 1961) exchange trumpet choruses on the latter's "Joint Tenancy," based on the harmonic changes of "Alone Together." Joel Kaye (Kenton Class of 1963), a protégé of the late composer/arranger Johnny Richards, reveals his mentor's powerful influence in his arrangement of the Johnny Mandel
Johnny Mandel
Johnny Mandel
b.1925
arranger
standard "The Shadow of Your Smile," along with his own bass flute, Rader's fluegelhorn and Pete Gallio's tenor.



Austin, Texas-based composer Paul Baker has provided "El Viento Caliente" (The Hot Wind), once again showcasing Murzyn, Vax and Sesler-Beckman, this time in a Latin vein. "Five & Dime," a Hank Levy

Hank Levy
1927 - 2001
sax, tenor
-inspired original by Rich Woolworth, is an excursion through alternating 5/4 and 10/8 meters, the title of which is a pun on the composer's name as well as the metric scheme. Eric Richards' (no relation to Johnny) "Crescent City Stomp," a tribute to New Orleans (of which Vax was a resident during the 1970s, when he was a member of the Dukes of Dixieland), is highlighted by a Dixie chorus featuring Vax, trombonist and Crescent City native Roy Wiegand (Kenton Class of 1956) and baritone saxophonist Keith Kaminski, plus parade-inspired drumming by Gary Hobbs (Kenton Class of 1977).



From the classic Kenton repertoire comes Lennie Niehaus

Lennie Niehaus
Lennie Niehaus
b.1929
composer/conductor
' swinging interpretation of Jerome Kern's "Long Ago and Far Away," with Kaye this time on baritone, followed by Kaye's adaptation of his mentor's "Artemis & Apollo" from the suite Adventures In Time (Capitol, 1962), spotlighting Rader's fluegel artistry. Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
1927 - 1996
sax, baritone
's "Swing House," which began life as an arrangement of "Rose of the Rio Grande" for Claude Thornhill
Claude Thornhill
Claude Thornhill
1909 - 1965
vocalist
in 1948 and was updated for Kenton four years later, presents trombonist Scott Whitfield
Scott Whitfield
Scott Whitfield
b.1963
trombone
, along with encores by Richmond, Gallio, and Vax (in the respective original solo roles of Frank Rosolino
Frank Rosolino
Frank Rosolino
1926 - 1978
trombone
, Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
b.1927
sax, alto
, Richie Kamuca
Richie Kamuca
Richie Kamuca
1930 - 1977
sax, tenor
, and Conte Candoli
Conte Candoli
Conte Candoli
1927 - 2001
trumpet
). Sesler-Beckman and Rader reprise their solo turns on the Johnny Richards adaptation of Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
1918 - 1990
composer/conductor
's "Tonight" from the Grammy-winning Kenton's West Side Story LP (Capitol, 1961).



Last, but certainly not least, Whitfield and his wife, vocalist Ginger Berglund, pay tribute to another spousal duo, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral, with the late Steve Allen

Steve Allen
Steve Allen
1921 - 2000
composer/conductor
's theme "This Could Be the Start of Something Big." The late bandleader/composer/arranger Bob Florence
Bob Florence
Bob Florence
1932 - 2008
band/orchestra
, a onetime pianist for the Kenton Alumni band, originally wrote "Our Garden" as "I'll Remember," a feature for tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb
Pete Christlieb
Pete Christlieb
b.1945
saxophone
in Florence's own Limited Edition. The Whitfields have added beautiful lyrics to this bossa nova inspired by Erik Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1."


Tracks: The New Intermission Riff; Softly As I Leave You; El Viento Caliente; Long Ago and Far Away; Artemis & Apollo; Five & Dime; This Could Be the Start of Something Big; Our Garden; Swing House; Tonight; Joint Tenancy; Invitation; The Shadow of Your Smile; Crescent City Stomp; Crescent City Stomp (radio edit).

Personnel: Mike Vax, leader, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Dennis Noday, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Paul Von Adam, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Steve Huffsteter, trumpet, fluegelhorn, arranger; Don Rader, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Roy Wiegand, trombone; Dale DeVoe, trombone, arranger; Scott Whitfield, trombone, vocals, arranger; Kenny Shroyer, bass trombone; Mike Suter, bass trombone, tuba; Kim Richmond, alto sax, soprano sax, flute, arranger; Keith Kaminski, alto sax, baritone sax, flute; Pete Gallio, tenor sax, flute; Alex Murzyn, tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Joel Kaye, baritone sax, bass sax, alto flute, bass flute, arranger; Liz Sesler-Beckman, piano; Chris Symer, bass; Gary Hobbs, drums; Dee Huffsteter, percussion; Ginger Berglund, vocals.

Track Listing: The New Intermission Riff; Softly As I Leave You; El Viento Caliente; Long Ago and Far Away; Artemis & Apollo; Five & Dime; This Could Be the Start of Something Big; Our Garden; Swing House; Tonight; Joint Tenancy; Invitation; The Shadow of Your Smile; Crescent City Stomp; Crescent City Stomp (radio edit).

Personnel: Mike Vax, leader, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Dennis Noday, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Paul Von Adam, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Steve Huffsteter, trumpet, fluegelhorn, arranger; Don Rader, trumpet, fluegelhorn; Roy Wiegand, trombone; Dale DeVoe, trombone, arranger; Scott Whitfield, trombone, vocals, arranger; Kenny Shroyer, bass trombone; Mike Suter, bass trombone, tuba; Kim Richmond, alto sax, soprano sax, flute, arranger; Keith Kaminski, alto sax, baritone sax, flute; Pete Gallio, tenor sax, flute; Alex Murzyn, tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Joel Kaye, baritone sax, bass sax, alto flute, bass flute, arranger; Liz Sesler-Beckman, piano; Chris Symer, bass; Gary Hobbs, drums; Dee Huffsteter, percussion; Ginger Berglund, vocals.

Record Label: Summit Records

Style: Big Band


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