A Festival of Modern American Jazz

First Tour

Part one of the first tour lasted exactly one month. In addition to the Kenton orchestra, the festival featured June Christy, Dizzy Gillespie, the Erroll Garner Trio, Stan Getz, Slim Gaillard and Candidio.

Look at a souvenir program from this tour

November 1953

  • SUNDAY

  • MONDAY

  • TUESDAY

  • WEDNESDAY

  • THURSDAY

  • FRIDAY

  • SATURDAY

  • 8

    Hartford, CT
    Bushnell Memorial Hall
    8:30pm

  • 9

    Boston, MA
    Symphony Hall

  • 11

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Syria Mosque
    8 + 11pm

  • 12

    Cleveland, OH
    Music Hall

  • 13

    Syracuse, NY
    War Memorial
    8:30pm

  • 14

    Buffalo, NY
    Armory

  • 15

    Youngstown, OH
    Stambaugh Auditorium

  • 16

    Toledo, OH
    Sports Arena

  • 17

    Akron, OH
    Akron Armory

  • 18

    Columbus, OH
    Memorial Hall

  • 19

    Springfield, OH
    Orpheum Theater
    [unverified]

  • 20

    Cincinnati, OH
    Music Hall
    7:30 + 10:30pm

  • 21

    Detroit, MI
    Masonic Temple
    8:30pm

  • 22

    Flint, MI
    I.M.A. Auditorium
    2;30pm

    Saginaw, MI
    evening

  • 23

    Grand Rapids, MI
    Civic Auditorium

  • 24

    Lansing, MI
    Michigan State College
    8:30pm

  • 25

    Indianopolis, IN
    Circle Theater
    7 + 9:30pm

  • 26

    Saint Louis, MO
    Kiel Auditorium

  • 28

    South Bend, IN
    Palace Theater

  • 29

    Milwaukee, WI
    Bruce Hall

  • 30

    Chicago, IL
    Civic Opera House
    2 performances

  • 1 (Dec)

    Minneapolis, MI
    R.K.O. Opheum Theater
    6:30+9:30pm

My Image

For the remainder of 1953 Kenton toured the Midwest with his dance band, including a week at Detroit’s Fox Theater. 1954 began with a few weeks of one-nighters before the groups assembled in Dallas to begin rehearsals for the second half of the Festival tour. Slim Gaillard was dropped. Stan Getz had been busted for drugs, so Charlie Parker was invited to take his place on the tour. New music was required for Parker, and Bill Holman quickly contributed these. Oddly, there was very little press coverage of Parker’s participation, one of the last tours before his death. Former Kenton sideman, Lee Konitz, also joined the tour as a featured soloist.

Listen to the guest soloists from a Portland, Oregon performance

My Image

January 1954

  • SUNDAY

  • MONDAY

  • TUESDAY

  • WEDNESDAY

  • THURSDAY

  • FRIDAY

  • SATURDAY

  • 24

  • 25

  • 26

    Dallas, TX
    Plantation Club
    Rehearsals

  • 27

    Dallas, TX
    Plantation Club
    Rehearsals

  • 28

    Wichita Falls, TX

  • 29

    San Antonio, TX
    Bexar County Coliseum

  • 30

    Houston, TX
    City Auditorium

  • 31

    New Orleans, LA
    Municipal Auditorium
    3:30 + 8:30

February 1954

  • SUNDAY

  • MONDAY

  • TUESDAY

  • WEDNESDAY

  • THURSDAY

  • FRIDAY

  • SATURDAY

  • 1

    Mobile, AL
    Fort Whiting

  • 2

    Atlanta, GA
    Municipal Auditorium

  • 3

    Nashville, TN
    Ryman Auditorium
    7 + 10pm

  • 4

    Spartanburg, SC
    Memorial Auditorium
    8:30pm

  • 5

    Raliegh, NC
    Memorial Auditoium

  • 6

    Brooklyn, NY
    Paramount Theater
    8:30 + midnight

  • 7

    Washington, DC
    National Guard Armory Auditorium
    9pm

  • 8

    Upper Darby, PA
    Tower Theater

  • 9

    Worcester, MA
    Worcester Auditorium
    8:30pm
    2500 people

  • 10

    White Plains, NY
    Civic Center

  • 11

    Toronto, Ontario
    Massey Hall

  • 12

    Ann Arbor, MI
    7:30 + 9:30pml

  • 14

    Chicago, IL
    Rainbo Arena
    7 + 10pm

  • 15

    Independence, KS
    Memorial Auditorium

  • 16

    Hutchinson, KS
    Convention Hall

  • 17

    Hays, KS
    Fort Hays

  • 18

  • 19

    Denver, CO
    Rainbow Ballroom
    7:15 + 9:15

  • 20

    Salt Lake City, UT
    Capital Thater

  • 21

    Bozeman, MY
    Montana State College

  • 22

  • 23

    Vancouver, BC
    Georgia Auditorium

  • 24

    Seattle, WA
    Civic Auditorium
    3:30 + 8:30

  • 25

    Portland, OR
    Civic Auditorium
    8:30pm
    LISTEN

  • 26

    San Francisco, CA
    Paramount Theater
    8:30 + 11:30pm

  • 27

    Oakland, CA
    Oakland Auditorium Theater
    8:30pm

  • 28

    Los Angeles, CA
    Shrine Auditorium
    8:30pm
    Gene Norman emcee