334

Stan Kenton: Adventures in Blues

By

Sign in to view read count
Stan Kenton: Adventures in Blues This is one of the best albums made by the mellophonium band of Stan Kenton, which featured a complete section of mellophoniums (an instrument somewhere between a French horn and a flugelhorn), in addition to the usual components of trumpets, trombones, saxophones and rhythm. This may be the most swinging of all of Kenton's albums because the arrangements were done by Gene Roland, the most consistently swinging of all of the great arrangers who honed their talents writing for the Kenton juggernaut. Although the blues play a connection in most of the charts recorded here, the album could have been more accurately titled "Adventures in Riffs" since all of Roland's arrangements are riff-based tunes well within the Basie tradition.

In addition to being a great arranger, Roland was also an outstanding instrumentalist, and we get to hear him on this album soloing on both mellophonium and soprano sax. "Reuben's Blues," based on the old children's song "Reuben, Reuben," was a staple of the Kenton library for a number of years and this recording is the best version of that arrangement and features the haunting soprano sax of Roland. Marv Stamm is shown to great effect in several muted solos, none more engaging than that on "Blue Ghost," a piece dedicated to a mysterious woman who always showed up whenever the Kenton ensemble played in Ohio and who always wore a blue dress. Although not on this album, another chart from the Kenton library, "Design for Blue," had a similar dedication.

"Night at the Gold Nugget" is a medium tempo swing chart, and it's the most Basie-like of all the compositions ever recorded by Kenton. It is also unusual in that the saxophones actually use vibrato, something that was almost non-existent after the "Artistry in Rhythm" days of the 1940s. A real roof raiser is "Fitz," a work featuring the blazing trombone of Bob Fitzpatrick, one of a long line of Kenton virtuoso trombonists.

As bonus items in this CD reissue, Roland's "Ten Bars Ago" and Kenton's own "Lady Luck" also appear here. Neither tune is a major work, but they are interesting because they sound like two versions of the same composition. This points out the fact that not only was Stan Kenton a visionary bandleader, but an influential composer/arranger as well. Adventures in Blues is a great album and gives conslusive proof that when the music called for it, the Stan Kenton Orchestra could swing with the best of them.


Track Listing: Reuben's Blues; Dragonwyck; Blue Ghost; Exit Stage Left; Night at the Gold Nugget; Formula SK-32; Aphrodisia; Fitz; Blues Story; Night at the Gold Nugget (alternate take); Ten Bars Ago; Lady Luck

Personnel: Jerry Lestock McKenzie, drums; Bud Parker, trombone; Albert Pollan, tuba; Paul Renzi, tenor sax; Bob Rolfe, trumpet; Carl Saunders, mellophonium; Pat Senatore, bass; Dalton Smith, trumpet; Ray Starling, mellophonium; Dave Wheeler, trombone; Dick Hyde, trombone; Art Anton, drums; Ray Sikora, trombone; Bill Horan, mellophonium; Tom Wirtel, mellophonium; Steve Huffsteter, trumpet; Jack Spurlock, trombone; Buddy Arnold, tenor sax; Jim Amlotte, trombone; Norman Baltazar, trumpet; Dee Barton, trombone; Bob Behrendt, trumpet; Allan Beutler, baritone sax; Joe Burnett, mellophonium; Dwight Carver, mellophonium; Pete Chivily, bass; Wayne Dunstan, baritone & bass saxes; Bob Fitzpatrick, trombone; Joel Kaye, bass sax; Bobby Knight, trombone; Stan Kenton, piano; Red Mitchell, bass; Marvin Stamm, trumpet; Gabe Baltazar, alto sax; Sam Donahue, tenor sax; Gene Roland, mellophonium, soprano sax

Title: Adventures in Blues | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Capitol Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Life on the Edge" CD/LP/Track Review Life on the Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Of The Night" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Night
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "We Are The World" CD/LP/Track Review We Are The World
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke" CD/LP/Track Review The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 16, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.