Stan Kenton and His Orchestra – The World We Know (1967)

FrontCover1.jpgThe World We Know is an album by bandleader Stan Kenton recorded in 1967 by Capitol Records.

Remarkably, after over two decades as an active recording artist, Stan Kenton (piano/arranger) could still pull off efforts as interesting as World We Know (1968). Combining divergent reworkings of pop music standards with his own undeniably unique originals, Kenton applies his trademark intricate and individual harmonic phrasings. The consistent results bear out his ability to augment his highly stylized arrangements within a framework of familiarity. While there is no mistaking this platter for rock or even what would be considered as ‘pop’ circa 1968, Kenton’s adaptation of Bobby Hebb’s soulful “Sunny” is given a spry up-tempo demeanor, building from a bop-influenced piano line to a full-blown big band drill. Similarly, Neal Hefti’s “Girl Talk,” taken from the film Harlow (1965) , is also rerouted, bringing out the smouldering and scintillating melody as it perpetually yields to a brash and bouncy conclusion. Another mid-’60s soundtrack-derived side is “Man and a Woman,” from the Claude Lelouch film Un Homme et une Femme (1966), which has been turned around into an affective, if not somewhat darker piece. Kenton’s compositions present his own formidable talents with an equally broad spectrum of sonic techniques. At the heart of “Changing Times,” or the moody and romantic “Theme for Jo,” is Kenton’s uncanny marriage of memorable tunes and interpretive keyboard lines leading the larger ensemble through his voicings and contrasts in tempo. While enthusiasts of the artist’s work will undoubtedly be impressed, to modern ears the easy listening orchestration may seem heavy-handed, if not lackluster.  (by Lindsay Planer)

Stan Kenton

Personnel:
Jim Amlotte (trombone)
Don Bagley (bass on  01., 04-, 06., 07., 09. + 11.)
Dee Barton (drums)
Monty Budwig (bass on  02., 03., 05. 08. + 10.)
Bob Dahl (saxophone)
Jay Daversa (trumpet)
Graham Ellis (trombone, tuba)
Bill Fritz (saxophone, flute)
Stan Kenton (piano)
Jack Laubach (trumpet)
Carl Leach (trumpet)
John Mitchell (saxophone)
Clyde Raesinger (trumpet)
Ray Reed (saxophone, flute)
Alan Rowe (saxophone)
Tom Senff (trombone)
Dick Shearer (trombone)
Dalton Smith (trumpet)
Adolpho “Chino” Valdez (percussion)
Tom Whittaker (trombone)

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Tracklist:
01. Sunny (Hebb) 3.07
02. Imagine (Lai/Cahn) 3.03
03. A Man And A Woman (Lai/Cahn) 4.46
04. Theme For Jo (Kenton) 3.33
05. Interchange (Kenton) 3.03
06. Invitation (Kaper/Webster) 3.21
07. Girl Talk (Hefti/Troup) 4.36
08. The World We Know (Kaempfert/Rehbein/Sigman) 2.25
09. This Hotel (Keating/Quine) 2.35
10. Changing Times (Kenton) 3.30
11. Gloomy Sunday (Seress/Jávor/Lewis) 4.49

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Stan Kenton – Back To Balboa (1957)

StanKentonBackToBalboaFCBy 1957, the Big Band Era was pretty well over. Fortunately pianist Stan Kenton never got the message. In fact, he continued to tour with various aggregations well into the ‘70s, ultimately laying the groundwork for modern jazz education with school performances and clinics.
While the handwriting may have been on the wall in the late ‘50s, there was still a large segment of the listening public that, having grown up on big bands, still loved the sound of a roaring brass section and tightly arranged saxophones. Stan Kenton offered them that, with the emphassis on the roaring. Capitol Records was still very much the purveyer of what could best be termed “adult popular music,” having not yet struck gold in the teen market with the Beatles and the Beach Boys. The grist for their mill was Frank Sinatra, Nat Cole, and of course, Stan Kenton.
Kenton’s Back to Balboa is the documentation of a brief but unprofitable residence at the Rendevous Ballroom in Balboa, California in the winter of ‘57-’58. It shows the band in typical form, with fine arrangements by Johnny Richards, Marty Paich and Bill Holman. As always, the section men and soloists are first rate. One need only look at the personnel of this album to realize the caliber of Kenton’s players. Tenor saxophonists Bill Perkins and Richie Kamuca and alto saxophonist Lennie Niehaus contribute fine solos, as does trumpeter Sam Noto.
The album is rich in Latin rhythms, with Cuban-themed charts that Kenton loved to feature. Richards turns “Out of this World” and “Speak Low” into numbers worthy of old Havana.
A Kenton brass section could not only break glass, it could melt steel as well. You occasionally get samples of that on this album. In fact, if you want to hear where trumpeter Maynard Ferguson got the inspiration for his big bands, you need go no further than his former employer, Kenton.

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Personnel:
Jim Amlotte (trombone)
Bill Catalano (trumpet)
Jules Chaiken (trumpet)
Jimmy Deckker (french horn)
Vincent DeRosa – french horn)
Bob Fitzpatrick (trombone)
Phil Gilbert (trumpet)
Lee Katzman (trumpet)
Richie Kamuca (saxophone)
Joe “Red” Kelly (bass)
Stan Kenton (piano)
Kent Larsen (trombone)
Archie LeCoQue (trombone)
Jerry McKenzie (drums)
Stephen Perlow (saxophone)
Bill Perkins (saxophone)
Lennie Niehaus (saxophone)
Sam Noto (trumpet)
Don Reed (trombone)
Kenny Shroyer (trombone)

Tracklist:
01. The Big Chase (Paich) 4.17
02. Rendezvous at Sunset (Richards) 4.17
03. Speak Low (Nash/Weill) 3.28
04. My Old Flame (Coslow/Johnston) 4.02
05. Out of This World (Arlen/Mercer) 5.44
06. Begin the Beguine (Porter) 3.41
07. Get Out of Town (Porter) 2.38
08. Royal Blue (Holman) 5.52
09. I Concentrate on You (Porter) 3.21
10. Beyond the Blue Horizon (Harling/Robin/Whiting) 3.35
11. Two Shades of Autumn (Coccia) 3.54
12. Love Letters (Heyman/Young) 2.26
13. Desiderata (Coccia) 3.11
14. Artistry in Blues (Kenton) 2.45

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