Big Bands of the 1950s (1950 - 1957)

Russell Perry By

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Woody Herman disbanded the Second Herd in 1949 and, while Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington managed to keep a big band on the road through the 1950s, Count Basie disbanded his band at the start of the decade but assembled a new one in a few years. Generally this was a tough period for large ensembles. This, however, didn't dampen the urge for musicians and composers to hear music in large forms and find ways to make it real. In this hour we will survey the 1950s contributions of Stan Kenton and his orchestra, Count Basie and his New Testament Band, Duke Ellington at Newport, Gil Evans studio band, Quincy Jones and the adventurous Dectet of Teddy Charles.


  • Host Intro 0:00
  • Stan Kenton & His Orchestra. "Halls of Brass" from Stan Kenton Presents (Capitol) 4:13
  • Host speaks 7:51
  • Count Basie Orchestra. "Li'l Darlin'" from The Atomic Mr. Basie (Roulette) 9:53
  • Host speaks 14:40
  • Duke Ellington Orchestra. "Diminuendo In Blue And Crescendo In Blue" from Ellington at Newport 1956 (Columbia) 17:36
  • Host speaks 32:25
  • Gil Evans Orchestra. "King Porter Stomp" from The Norton Jazz Recordings (Norton) 33:55
  • Host speaks 37:12
  • Quincy Jones and his Orchestra. "Stockholm Sweetnin'" from This Is How I Feel About Jazz (ABC-Paramount) 39:27
  • Host speaks 45:06
  • Teddy Charles Tentet. "Nature Boy" from The Teddy Charles Tentet (Atlantic) 46:21
  • Teddy Charles Tentet. "Lydian M-1" from The Teddy Charles Tentet (Atlantic) 52:48
  • Host Outro 57:12


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