The Music and Life of Robert Graettinger

My Image

Robert Badgett Morgan

B.M., North Texas State University, 1963
M.M., North Texas State University, 1965

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition
in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1974.

Urbana, Illinois
© Copyright 1974 by Robert Badgett Morgan

Kenton talks about Graettinger

Willie Maiden on Graettinger

  1. Mata Bergquist, “Bob Graettinger: En begavad och säregen komponist,” Orkester Journalen (Stockholm), XXVI (September 1958), p. 8. Translated by Mrs. E.D. Strandberg.

  2. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  3. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  4. Letter from Mrs. Archie D. Mitchell, Ontario, California, August 26, 1973.

  5. Letter from Ernest Farmer, Delaware Gap, Pennsylvania, March 22, 1971.

  6. Letter from Ernest Farmer, Delaware Gap, Pennsylvania, March 22, 1971.

  7. Letter from Ernest Farmer, Delaware Gap, Pennsylvania, March 22, 1971.

  8. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  9. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  10. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  11. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  12. Letter from Mrs. Archie D. Mitchell, Ontario, California, August 26, 1973.

  13. Jack McKinney, “The Kenton Story, Part I,” Crescendo (London), October 1965, p. 23.

  14. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 135.

  15. Letter from Vido Musso, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 1974.

  16. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 135.

  17. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 135.

  18. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 135.

  19. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  20. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  21. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 134.

  22. For example:
    Whitney Ballet, “His Master’s Voice,” New Yorker, April 6, 1963, pp. 118-19.

    Barry Ulanov, A History of Jazz in America (New York: The Viking press, 1957), pp. 311-12.

  23. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 144.

  24. Thermopolae (record review) Metronome, LXIV, No. 5 (May 1948), p. 45.

  25. Thermopolae (record review) Down Beat, XV, No. 8 (April 21, 1948), p. 19.

  26. Michael Levin, “Stan Breaks Up Carnegie,” Down Beat, XV, No. 5 (March 10, 1948), p. 2.

  27. New Yorker, July 17, 1948, p. 57.

  28. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 101. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  29. George Simon, The Kenton Era (record review), Metronome, LXXI, No. 3 (March 1955), p. 37.

  30. Letter from Michael Sparke, Hounslow, Middlesex, England, October 9, 1973.

  31. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  32. Merrilyn Hammond, “Musical Evolutionist” (Bob Graettinger), Music Views (Capitol Records), XII, No. 8 (August 1954), p. 6.

  33. Letter from Russell Garcia, KeriKeri, New Zealand, August 8, 1973.

  34. Letter from David Robertson, Brimfield, Massachusetts, August 18, 1973.

  35. Letter from David Robertson, Brimfield, Massachusetts, August 18, 1973.

  36. Letter from David Robertson, Brimfield, Massachusetts, November 17, 1973.

  37. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  38. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 176. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  39. Nat Hentoff, “Jazz Isn’t Meant to Continue as Dance Music, Says Kenton,” Down Beat, XIX, No. 17 (August 27, 1952), p. 6.

  40. “Kenton Full of Faith as ’51 Tour Opens,” Down Beat, XVIII, No. 21 (October 19, 1951), p. 3.

  41. “Stan’s Innovations: Effort and Effect,” Metronome, LXVI, No. 4 (April 1950), p. 28.

  42. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  43. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  44. “Stan Kenton Presents” (record review), Metronome, LXVII, No. 1 (January 1951), p. 27.

  45. Mack McCormack, “Rogers, Russo Works Are Peaks of ’51 ‘Innovations’,” Down Beat, XVIII, No. 23 (November 16, 1951), p. 19.

  46. Jack McKinney, “The Kenton Story – Part II,” Crescendo (London), November, 1965, p. 17.

  47. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. A.19. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  48. Bill Coss, “In Person” (Stan Kenton), Metronome, LXVIII, No. 1 (January 1952), p. 17.

  49. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 36. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  50. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 141.

  51. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 114-15. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben. Graettinger’s notes as quoted by Venudor differ slightly from those accompanying the record; it is assumed the the former (quoted here) are Graettinger’s own unedited remarks.

  52. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 115. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  53. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 115. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  54. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 115. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  55. Barry Ulanov, City of Glass (record review), Metronome, LXIX, No. 1 (March 1953), p. 24.

  56. A. H., City of Glass (record review), Gramophone, XXX (May 1953), p. 319.

  57. Rob Darrell, “City of Glass Gets Great Treatment on Kenton LP,” Down Beat, XX, No. 5 (January 28, 1953), p. 5.

  58. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 136.

  59. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  60. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 136.

  61. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  62. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 135.

  63. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 117. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  64. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 116. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  65. Interview, Willie Maiden, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  66. Interview, Willie Maiden, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  67. Nat Hentoff, This Modern World (record review), Down Beat, XXI, No. 9 (May 5, 1954), p. 11.

  68. This Modern World (record review), Disques, LXIX (January 1955), p. 85.

  69. Peter Venudor, “I Believe in Kentonia” (unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957), p. 105A. Translated by John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben.

  70. Letter from Russell Garcia, KeriKeri, New Zealand, August 8, 1973.

  71. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  72. Letter from Russell Garcia, KeriKeri, New Zealand, April 12, 1973.

  73. Letter from Russell Garcia, KeriKeri, New Zealand, August 8, 1973.

  74. Russell Garcia, The Professional Arranger Composer (New York: Criterion Music Corp., 1954), pp. 143-44.

  75. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 140.

  76. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 142.

  77. Letter from Clinton Roemer, Sherman Oaks, California, August 13, 1973.

  78. Merrilyn Hammond, “Musical Evolutionist” (Bob Graettinger), Music Views (Capitol Records), XII, No. 8 (August 1954), p. 6-7.

  79. Letter from Harold Budd, Valencia, California, July 14, 1973.

  80. Letter from David Robertson, Brimfield, Massachusetts, November 17, 1973.

  81. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 139.

  82. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 138.

  83. George Simon, The Kenton Era (record review), Metronome, LXXI, No. 3 (March 1955), p. 37.

  84. Interview with Forrest Westbrook, Los Angeles, California, May 30, 1973.

  85. Carol Easton, Straight Ahead: The Story of Stan Kenton (Nw York: William Morrow & Co., 1973), p. 195.

  86. Interview with Stan Kenton, Houston, Texas, March 27, 1973.

  87. Letter from Harold Budd, Valencia, California, July 14, 1973.

  88. Interview with Charles Hall, Los Angeles, California, May 29, 1973.

  89. Interview with Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, May 28, 1973.

  90. Harold Budd reports the existence of the original. City of Glass parts. However, they are apparently not among the materials in the Creative World office.

  91. Except bari.

  92. pp. 1 and 3-7 only.

  93. except solo Horn, piano, guitar, and bass.

  94. Compiled from original parts.

  95. First page only.

  96. Compiled from original parts.

Table of Contents

  • Credits

    A large number of people expressed interest in and contributed to this study. The author would like to especially acknowledge the following:

    My advisor, Charles Hamm, University of Illinois, for his helpful suggestions, and for his self-cast role as genuine advisor, as opposed to editor.

    Stan Kenton historians Michael Sparke, Hounslow, Middlesex, England, and Peter Venudor, Amsterdam, Holland, for their substantial contributions, including much original source material.

    Robert Graettinger’s mother, Mrs. Archie D. Mitchell, Ontario, California, for relating much unique information concerning her son.

    David Robertson, Brimfield, Massachusetts, one of Graettinger’s few close friends, for contributing no less than ten typewritten pages of various recollections.

    Russell Garcia, KeriKeri, New Zealand, Graettinger’s principal teacher, for interrupting semi-retirement to convey much useful data.

    Max Cramer, Arcadia, California, for his sincere interest, and for contributing much valuable information concerning Graettinger’s youth.

    Ernest Farmer, president, Shawnee Press, Inc., Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, for responding to a letter in the NAJE Educator magazine, and initiating contacts with Max Cramer and other figures of Graettinger’s youth.

    Writer Carol Easton, Redondo Beach, California, for providing xeroxes of galleys from her book, Straight Ahead, The Story of Stan Kenton, prior to its publication.

    Composer Harold Budd, California Institute of the Arts, for relating his Findings from a prior study of Robert Graettinger.

    Saxist/arranger Willie Maiden, for taking time from a busy road schedule to reminisce about Bob Graettinger.

    The staff of Creative World, Inc., especially ex-manager Clinton Roemer, and publications assistant Gene Gjesvold, for their help.

    Forrest Westbrook, Venice, California, Vido Musso, Las Vegas, Nevada, Professor Wayne Scott, University of Colorado, and. Ole Just Astrup, Copenhagen, Demark, for their assistance.

    John Groenhayzen and Trudie Herben, Houston, Texas, and Mrs. E. D. Strandberg and Jan Cole, Huntsville, Texas, for their help with translations.

    Jerry Perkins, Houston, Texas, for compiling the score of Modern Opus.

    My wife, Jana, for typing and proofreading the manuscript.

    And last, the figure who made it possible for Robert Graettinger, and dozens of others, to be heard, and who found time to contribute significantly to this project, despite his usual hectic schedule, Stan Kenton.

  • Preface


    “I think you are going to find about Bob Graettinger, now that he is dead, that he has left many useful and interesting small pieces.”`1

    — Johnny Richards

    Johnny Richards’ remark seems especially poignant today, as Richards himself is now deceased, and it remains for a substantial number of people to “find out about” either composer, but especially Robert Graettinger. It is true that a certain amount of investigation has been undertaken. Composer Harold Budd spent some time examining Graettinger’s scores and graphs, having been asked by Source magazine for an article (for various reasons, the project was not completed). Clinton Roemer, former manager of Stan Kenton’s office, recalls several “Hollywood composers” examining the material, and Harold Budd even specifies Quincy Jones and Nelson Riddle. However, the music of Robert Graettinger remains unknown to the large majority of composers and jazz musicians, and a definitive study of his life and music has not appeared.

    This paper is presented as the initial stage of such a definitive study. It is not wholly conclusive, as there remain several. incomplete details to be pursued, most importantly, the deciphering of Graettinger’s renowned graph system, and a further effort to locate his many missing scores. The purpose of the paper is that of an initial collation and evaluation of currently available data, with the assumption that further research will follow.

  • 1. Early Development

    1. Early Development

    Robert Frederick Graettinger was born in Ontario, California, October 31, 1923. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Rupert Graettinger, were long-time residents of Ontario, Mr. Graettinger being managing editor of the local newspaper, the Dally Report. Robert had one brother, John, approximately two years his elder, and no sisters.

    Graettinger’s youth can only be described as a “normal.” His family was “at least middle class if not higher”2 economically, and he seems to have developed according to the conventions traditionally associated with that designation. He attended Central and Edison elementary schools in Ontario, acquiring a keen interest in football as early as the third grade. Max Cramer, a childhood friend, recalls that, in those early days, Graettinger was “somewhat shy and reticent, yet belonging in the way of young societies to a certain group of well-respected youngsters.”3 He has a further recollection (though “hazy”) that the Graettinger family was active socially, and even describes Robert as belonging to the “cotillion-type crowd.” At some point, Graettinger acquired a nickname, “Buss” (pron. būs), the exact derivation of which is obscure, though his mother (now Mrs. A.D. Mitchell, Ontario, California) does recall that the origination was with John.4 The sobriquet did not follow Graettinger into adult life.

    Graettinger’s public education was completed at Ontario Junior High School (1935-37) and Chaffey Union High School, Ontario (1937-41). Although his interest in football compelled him to be a member of the junior high team, musical interests were emerging, and this new venture was to dominate his activities throughout high school.

    The exact origins of Robert Graettinger’s musicianship are unclear. Max Cramer does not recall Mr. and Mrs. Graettinger or John as being musical, thus it may be assumed that Bob’s preliminary introduction to music was the result of some casual influence, perhaps of a peer-group nature. Cramer does recall that the elder Graettingers encouraged Bob’s talent, once identified. It is probable that his musical indoctrination began relatively late, as Cramer does not recall him participating in any formal junior high school ensembles, though Mrs. Mitchell does identify this period as the beginning of his musical interests.

    There is no doubt that the foundation for Bob Graettinger’s full musical maturity was formed during his high school years, and was a result of the training and experience he received in his high school music program. In the late 1930’s, Chaffey Union High School had an outstanding music department, the high attainments of which were due principally to the efforts of its director, Murray Owen. In addition to providing thorough ensemble training, Owen encouraged his students to study privately with established Los Angeles-based musicians, and Graettinger soon began studying the saxophone with a well-known Hollywood teacher, Mickey Gillette. This is the earliest formal instruction that Max Cramer recalls.

    Concerning Chaffey’s ensembles, there were the usual concert and marching bands (of which Graettinger was a member, though Cramer notes that, even at that early date, the music seemed incongruous to Graettinger’s musical personality), symphony and training orchestras, but also a dance band (standard instrumentation) and a “theatre orchestra.” In regard to the latter, another friend from. youth, Ernest Farmer, explains:

    This…group had a “Kostelanetz” orientation and was used to accompany musicals and variety shows. In addition, it did two featured concerts each year, and most of the charts were done by kids in the group including myself, Graettinger, Morris Crawford [presently a professional bassoonist, Los Angeles], Harriet Barnard [now Mrs. Morris Crawford, copyist/orchestrator, Los Angeles]…,Murray Owen, and a Hollywood pro, Bob Lee…

    This was a lab situation in the best sense. None of us had any formal theory or orchestration up to that point. Owen and Lee would help us if we had a technical problem, but for the most part we wrote and copied our own arrangements.5

    Both Farmer and Max Cramer recall an early Graettinger arrangement for the theatre orchestra, a “symphonic jazz” arrangement of Temptation that featured Graettinger on alto sax (“A bolero treatment with lots of timpani”6). Cramer recalls Murray Owen as referring to Graettinger’s talents as those of a genius.

    High school was also the period for Graettinger’s first experiences as a professional musician. Initially, there was a short-lived aggregation led by a drummer, Walter Stewart (presently an Ontario city councilman). There were the usual summer resort jobs, including one at Yellowstone Park (summer of 1940), and at Idyllwild, in the San Jacinto Mountains (summer of 1941). The group for the latter engagement was a combo led by a saxophonist, Bill Henry (alias for William Neidlinger). Max Cramer was the trumpeter, and he recalls that each member of the band had an extra-musical daytime job, Graettinger’s being that of bellboy. Cramer’s further recollection that the two youths spent much time “contemplating girls” and “drinking [their] fill every night” would indicate a progression of the maturation process described earlier as “normal.” He also recalls, however, that, by this time, Graettinger had turned away from anything athletic as being “distasteful.”

    The most significant professional experience of Graettinger’s youth was undoubtedly his tenure with the Shelly Swan Orchestra, originating during his sophomore year in high school. Though Swan, a drummer, was the titular head of the group (he financed the library and equipment, secured engagements, etc.), the actual musical directors were Bob Graettinger and Max Cramer, both of whom rehearsed. the band, while Graettinger alone was the arranger. In contrast to his mature years. Graettinger was a quite prolific writer at this time, and Swan’s book, originally comprised mostly of “stock” arrangements eventually consisted almost exclusively of Graettinger-penned originals and arrangements. He also occasionally provided record copies, and Cramer vividly recalls a transcription of Jimmie Lunceford’s Margie, the well-known Trummy Young vocal of 1938. It is not surprising that Cramer should recall that particular record copy, as he emphasized that it was the Lunceford style that the Swan organization tried to emulate.

    A rare opportunity, in the form of a recording proffered by Max Cramer, is available to examine first-hand the Swan/Graettinger elements in general, and to observe such details as the true extent of the Lunceford influence. The tape is of a recording session made by the Swan organization at a professional studio in Hollywood during the spring of 1941. There are two tunes. Hoagy Carmichael’s Rockin’ Chair, and Isham Jones’s On the Alamo, both Graettinger arranged. Each is a different tempo (medium-slow and fast, respectively), offering diverse samples for examination.

    Rockin’ Chair

    On the Alamo

    The style of the music is pure Swing Era stock, of both the slow dance tempo and faster jazz-oriented varieties. The harmonic vocabulary is standard, “four-note” chords (added sixths, dominant sevenths, diminished sevenths, etc.) being the norm, with occasional extensions (ninths, thirteenths), and infrequent alterations. The chord progressions, though generally predictable, are of interest, because they reveal that Graettinger, technically a novice, nevertheless had acquired the substitute chord techniques of parallelism, neighbor chords, and passing diminished sevenths, all being used skillfully. The principal melodic embellishment is that of interpolated eighth notes.

    The Swan instrumentation is four saxophones (two altos, two tenors), three trumpets, one trombone, and three rhythm, and is standard, except for the single trombone. The rhythm section displays the customary Swing Era “chunk-chunk” mannerism, a result of the “boom-chop” piano, four-to-the-bar bass drum, and generally unfluid bass line.

    Concerning the arrangements themselves, Alamo is much more successful than Rockin’ Chair, perhaps a reflection of the traditional arranger’s axiom that ballads are more difficult to write than fast tunes. The absence of the automatic energizer of a fast pulse, and the simple matter of more musical time to consume presented Graettinger with the same problems that confront any arranger, though he probably handled them better than most with similar experience. While the second of the two choruses of Rockin’ Chair contains several moments of interest, the first (a trumpet solo) is mostly undistinguished. Particularly weak is the background, consisting totally of the most obvious type, that is, simple, sustained chords, in this instance in the saxes and trombone. This type of background is of interest only to the extent that the chords themselves (voicings, progressions, etc.) are of interest, and Graettinger’s have a dreary sameness about them, seeming totally in “block” position, probably keyboard-derived. A similarity of harmonic rhythm contributes to the problem, as does the careless treatment of the uppermost voice of the sustained chords (i.e., first alto sax), Graettinger falling to realize that this voice is automatically of melodic importance. An overuse of the aforementioned technique of parallelism further contributes to the weakness.

    The second chorus, consisting mostly of a sax soli and ensemble passages, is much more successful, particularly the soli. Consuming the first half of the chorus, the soli opens with eight measures that are around-the-melody, and closes with eight that are freer. The melodic voice (i.e., first alto) is quite interesting, being rhythmically active, through-composed., and covering a fairly wide range. The accompanying harmony (i.e., lower saxes) is likewise effective, being quite fluid and displaying none of the weaknesses of the first chorus background harmony.

    Other points of interest include:

    • A surprising modulation at the end of the bridge, second chorus, from E♭ major to G major, by means of parallelism.

    • The use of unexpected. phrase lengths and “dovetailing” (i.e., overlapping phrases) at the end of both choruses, the first overlapping with an interlude, the second with the coda.

    • An interesting rhythmic effect in the interlude in which the saxes and brass share a similar rhythmic/harmonic pattern, displaced one-half beat, temporarily obscuring the meter.

    Example 1 Rockin’ Chair, interlude (excerpt)
    (transcribed by Robert Morgan)

    My Image

    It should be noted that Graettinger, surprisingly, employs a wrong chord change during the first three measures of Rockin’ Chair, using | I / / / | IV / / / | I / / / / |, instead of the appropriate | I / / / | V7/IV / / / | IV / / / / |. An additional weakness is the coda, the material of which seems inappropriate, and which ends on an inevitable tonic “major-minor” 9(13) chord.

    The moments of interest in Alamo are more numerous and include:

    • Another effective sax soli, having the function of first presenting the tune, and occupying the first sixteen measures of the opening chorus. It is entirely around-the-melody, and displays all the positive traits mentioned. in relation to the previous soli.

    • Another interesting interlude (end of the first of the three choruses), with unexpected phrase lengths, and an interesting tonal device whereby the key of the “out” chorus (F major) is briefly foreshadowed amidst the basic E♭.

    • An effective sax background passage (albeit seemingly a direct “steal” from Benny Goodman), second eight measures of second chorus, trumpet solo.

    • A very effective “out” chorus, featuring rhythmic ensemble passages, unison saxes, and the trumpets, the latter in both foreground and background roles. The quick ending on a tonic major 9 chord is effective, and is quite correct in its brevity.

    Of unusual interest in Alamo is the fact that Graettinger uses the whole-tone scale quite visibly at several places (introduction, interlude, some phrase endings). It could be surmised. that this is a faint reference to Duke Ellington’s (actually Billy Strayhorn’s) Take the A Train, which contains references to the whole-tone scale. Also, both tunes share the same chord progressions for the first eight measures, though the second chord (V9 /V, mm. 3-4) contains a flatted fifth in A Train, and an unaltered fifth in Alamo. Max Cramer mentioned that Ellington, in addition to Lunceford, was an early idol, and it is conceivable that Graettinger included a subtle homage. The fact that the first recording of A Train was released during the same general time period as Swan’s recording would perhaps support this notion.

    Concerning Lunceford influences, these are indeed discernable, though not in abundance. The most obvious is the use of consecutive off-beat eighth notes (also, significantly, a trait of the early Stan Kenton band), prominent here in both tunes, but especially in Rockin’ Chair. Other similarities include the predominance of the sax section, and the relatively sparse use of ensemble, favoring instead solos (both ad-lib and around-the-melody) and section work (both background and soli functions). There are several obvious dissimilarities, including the almost total absence of any dynamic or timbral contrast, significant traits of both Lunceford and Ellington. The dynamic level of the Swan recording is a constant mf, and the colors are all quite predictable (no mutes or woodwinds are employed). Also missing is anything resembling the familiar Lunceford “two-beat,” as well as any element of the important Lunceford ingredient of humor.

    Of quite unusual interest is the fact that this recording presents an example of Graettinger the saxophonist, as this ability was ultimately to yield to writing. However, his playing on the Swan recording is quite impressive, especially considering his youth. Both as a section leader and soloist, he is assertive, and displays a great deal of style. His brief solo appearance on Alamo demonstrates that he could not only “play the changes,” but was already concerned with more musical details, such as phrase shape, and dynamic and tone variation. One would assume influences of the alto soloists of both Ellington and Lunceford, the latter’s Willie Smith being definitely confirmed by Ernest Farmer.7

    In summary, it is clear that Robert Graettinger was thoroughly conversant with the musical skills of the generation preceding that to which he would make his most significant contributions. Like most artists whose works eventually emerge as meaningful expressions of a unique voice, Graettinger first acquired the ability to speak convincingly in the prevailing language, before attempting to find a new voice of his own.

    The Shelly Swan band was quite active during Graettinger’s last years in high school, and also for a brief period thereafter. Both Graettinger and Max Cramer graduated in 1941, and the band slowly dissolved as the individual members graduated and embarked on their various pursuits.

  • 2. The War Years

    2. The War Years

    “The road” has long been the traditional breeding ground for jazz talent, and Bob Graettinger, too, devoted a portion of his life to this unique apprenticeship. His first association was with the Ken Baker band, a “minor name among name bands,”8 headquartered in California. Graettinger joined Baker on the road during the spring of 1942. The band had left California somewhat earlier, with actor Jackie Moran along as “front man.” The ultimate destination was New York’s Roseland Ballroom, but the payroll lasted only as far as Phoenix, Arizona, where Moran departed, leaving the band stranded. Idle for one month, Baker finally secured an engagement at Phoenix’s Riverside Ballroom, and the band remained for several months before returning to Hollywood.

    Graettinger joined Baker in Phoenix, and played third alto in a sax section that included tenorist Zoot Sims. Max Cramer was in the trumpet section, and recalls that Graettinger wrote little for Baker, since the life span of this particular band was relatively brief. However, he does remember two Graettinger originals that were, in his opinion, very successful, Phoenix Panic and Bill the Beetle (the latter written “after the denizens of our lowly abode in the basement of the…hotel”9). Cramer further has a fond memory of a visit by the Jimmie Lunceford band, for which Baker relinquished the Riverside bandstand for two nights. As has been noted, Lunceford was the young musicians’ idol, and they were all thrilled to be able to befriend the famed sidemen. The dialogue was not just musical, as Cramer recalls a particularly wild baseball game between the two bands, with Lunceford himself pitching (and winning, by one run).

    Max Cramer notes that Graettinger’s personality underwent a marked change during the summer months in Phoenix. Though Graettinger could never have been described as outgoing, Cramer does recall that in high school he “related well” and was “well-accepted,” and typifies him as “a shy person, retiring person, and yet not a meek one.” Further, “he had his convictions, and he was a young fellow of some courage.”10 Graettinger must have been at least moderately prominent among his high school peers, as one yearbook lists him as secretary of an elective organization, the Anthology Club.

    Whatever the degree of Graettinger’s introversion as a youth, it apparently became more pronounced during the period he was with Ken Baker. Max Cramer explains:

    It was during those summer months in Phoenix that Buss became closely associated with the ideal of the dance musician, that is, preoccupation with his art while indulging in heavy drinking…it was no longer the roisterous boisterous activity we had begun as early as high school years, but now was becoming a serious and needful endeavor on his part. He became more morose and moody, a fact anyway of his personality. I believe that when he returned to Hollywood, he got caught up in even heavier involvement. Probably about this time, he became thoroughly obsessed with his art, writing music.11

    The details of Bob Graettinger’s life for the next few years are somewhat obscure. He apparently spent the bulk of the 1942-46 period with various road bands, though the exact sequence is not clear. Max Cramer is under the impression that, after leaving Ken Baker, Graettinger joined Johnny Richards for an engagement at Hermosa Beach, near Los Angeles. Cramer further recalls seeing Graettinger playing with Alvino Rey in Chicago, sometime during 1946. However, he has no knowledge of the interim period. Mrs. Mitchell confirms that her son played with Alvino Rey, and is certain that there were several other bands, though the only additional name she recalls is Benny Carter.12 British writer Jack McKinney mentions Graettinger’s association with Carter, noting that this occurred “around 1942.”13 Other sources confirm Richards, Rey, and. Carter, and mention, in addition, the bands of Bobby Sherwood, Vido Musso, and Jan Savitt.14 A Sherwood recording of December 4, 1944 (Capitol EAP 2-320) lists Graettinger, and Musso himself confirms Graettinger as a sideman during 1947, though only for a few weeks.15 It may be assumed that Graettinger arranged for some or all of these bands, and Stan Kenton biographer Carol Easton reports that he indeed wrote “some competent but unexceptional dance arrangements”16 during this period.

    Graettinger’s life on the road was interrupted by a stint in the Army, the details of which seem equally unclear. His mother mentions that he was a member of the band at Camp Roberts, California, serving from 1941 to 1943. However, Max Cramer questions the accuracy of the dates, as he is certain that Graettinger was with the Ken Baker band during much of 1942. Carol Easton also disagrees by inference, stating, “Drafted toward the end of the war, he [Graettinger] had quickly received a medical discharge—for alcoholism.”17

    As has been noted, Robert Graettinger’s significant accomplishments as a jazz musician were as a composer rather than a performer, and, after the period of the aforementioned road bands, he reportedly gave away his horn, remarking to a friend. “I have more to say than I can say with one horn.”18 Carol Easton states that he never played again, which is probably correct, as his future mentor, Stan Kenton, reports that he never heard him play.19 Max Cramer notes that Graettinger “never considered himself an accomplished saxophonist, although a good stylist.”20

  • 3. Early Kenton

    3. Early Kenton

    During Stan Kenton’s first engagement at the Hollywood Palladium (fall, 1941), bassist Howard Rumsey is reported as noticing

    a tall, gaunt, intense teen-ager with disproportionately large hands and dark, deep-set eyes, hanging around the bandstand night after night. During one intermission, he shyly introduced himself. His name was Bob Graettinger, he told Rumsey, and he had these arrangements…Did Rumsey think Stan might take a look at them?

    The arrangements were amateurish, but ambitious. Stan encouraged the boy to keep writing, and forgot him.21

    It is not surprising that Graettinger would be attracted. to the Kenton band, given his predilection for the music of Jimmie Lunceford. In the early 1940’s, these two bands had much in common, a point that has been observed by several critics.22 Most noticeably, the early Kenton style featured off-beat eighth notes and was dominated by the sax section, both traits previously noted as characteristic of Lunceford. In regard to the saxophones, it is interesting to note that Kenton’s first band contained a full complement of five, while the trumpets and trombones together comprised only five. The history of the Stan Kenton band divides quite conveniently into periods, the first being the Lunceford-derived. early forties, with arrangements by Ralph Yaw and Kenton himself. The next period (1945-49) was dominated by the arrangements of Pete Rugolo, with Kenton introducing the expression “Progressive Jazz” as the catch phrase of his music. The brass assumed the “powerhouse” role for which they were to become famous, growing from the original five to ten. It was during this time that Bob Graettinger first became professionally associated with Kenton.

    Graettinger was reintroduced to Kenton in the fall of 1947 by first trumpeter Ray Wetzel, who had known Graettinger earlier as a co-member of the Bobby Sherwood band. Wetzel requested that a particular Graettinger composition receive a reading, and, once this was done, Graettinger was immediately hired as a staff arranger. Kenton must have been indeed impressed, as the piece, Thermopolae, was promptly recorded on December 6, 1947 (The impending second Petrillo recording ban [January 1, 1948] was undoubtedly an additional reason for the haste). The record was released as a “single” (Capitol 15052) during the spring of 1948, backed by Pete Rugolo’s The Peanut Vendor.

    The score of Thermopolae is extant, and an examination reveals many details of interest, though the overall effect is disappointing. The piece is quite short, consisting of only thirty-seven measures (4/4), the very slow tempo resulting in a recorded time of 2:50. The form is clearly A B A, and there is no key signature, though there are strong references to E minor. The instrumentation is the full Stan Kenton complement of five saxophones, ten brass, and four rhythm (piano, guitar, bass, drums).

    Thermopolae opens with a brief two measure introduction, consisting of a sustained quartal chord in the saxophones, arpeggiated fourths in the guitar and piano, and a bass motive that is seemingly whole-tone derived, but is simply a duplication of every second note of the piano arpeggio. Section A (mm. 3-12) consists of repeated presentations of two short themes, one by the saxophones, the other, the brass. The sax theme is of the greater interest, and is comprised of two elements, a dotted rhythm, featuring an ascending minor seventh; a scalar motive, based on alternating half- and whole-steps (often referred to as the diminished scale by jazz musicians, because of its compatibility with the diminished seventh chord). This theme covers a fairly wide range, and is rhythmically active, despite the slow tempo:

    Example 2 Thermopolae, saxophone theme.
    (concert pitch)

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    The brass motive is much less prominent, and has the appearance of a counter-theme. It is slow-moving, covers a range of only a minor third, and is also, perhaps, derived from the diminished scale:

    Example 3 Thermopolae, brass theme.
    (concert pitch)

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    The “background for both themes is loud, ponderous, repeated brass chords, of both quartal (mm. 3-6) and polychordal (e.g., mm. 7-8, B/F) constructions. The piano and guitar continue their arpeggiated fourths, but join the brass when the texture becomes polychordal.

    The B section (mm. 13-20) features the saxes in both solo (first alto) and soli roles. The material is through-composed, and reaches a climax section (mm. 17-20), with unison saxes (diminished scale) and fanfare-like brass. The culmination (m. 20) is three different diminished seventh chords, in the saxes, trumpets, and trombones, respectively.

    It should be noted that two of the prominent chord types (quartal and diminished seventh) were possibly suggested by the nature of the principal theme, the minor seventh interval perhaps suggesting the fourth chords, and the diminished scale, the diminished seventh chords.

    A brief interlude comprises mm, 21-24. Again, a saxophone soli is featured in which both motives of the A theme may be observed with some alterations (notably augmented rhythms). The trumpets repeat the solo alto material of B as a counter-motive.

    Section A’ (mm. 25-32) is a formal retrograde of A, with some material corresponding exactly, and some varied. Measures 25-26 are similar to 9-10, though the former are a perfect fifth higher, and there are prominent alterations in texture and harmony. Measures 27-28 definitely correspond to 7-8, with only slight rhythmic changes, and 29-32 are virtually identical to 3-6. The concluding saxophone chord, occurring at the end of the coda (mm. 33-37), is identical to the opening chord of mm. 1-2.

    Of interest is the fact that much of the bass part is somewhat independent of the remainder of the ensemble, Measures 9-18 and 21-26 are indicated “ad lib,” and the recording reveals a quasi-soloistic approach. The chord progressions are the same as for piano and guitar, some being polychordal, and others more conventional. The part was no doubt tailor-made for Kenton’s famed bassist of the late 1940s, Eddie Safranski.

    Despite the preceding examples of impressive compositional processes, Thermopolae is, in the final analysis, a weak piece of music, as noted earlier. If the composition has anything in common with the earlier Swan arrangements, it is the relative strength of the saxophone writing; certainly, in Thermopolae, this is much more imaginative than the brass. However, the brass are so loud, and the repeated chords so insistent, that there seems to be an exchange of background and foreground roles. Without the score as an aid, it would be difficult to discern the thematic and formal significance of the saxophones. Especially objectionable is the climax section, in which the hackneyed device of chromatically-ascending diminished seventh chords (brass) predominates.

    Carol Easton has observed. that, in Graettinger’s music, the “tension exceeded the release.”23 However, in Thermopolae, the almost constant use of rootless chords results in an unbroken tension, so that the whole concept of tension and release seems to be negated. The resultant atmosphere is totally depressive. Occasional transparency, and, perhaps, counterpoint, would no doubt add resiliency to the texture, but there is neither. A final objection is the plodding 4/4 meter, which seems overstressed, obviously because of the repeated. brass chords, less obviously because of occasional pounding” by the drums.

    The principal journals of the jazz press gave Thermopolae a cool reception. Metronome rated the record “C,” commenting, “It’s well-disciplined playing but thoroughly confused and confused writing; the thing gets nowhere, very deliberately and dully; it adds up to a background, one that’s repeated. over and over.”24 Down Beat was similarly critical, “Thermopolae is a moribund, impressionistic thing concerned. only with mood—and a depressing one at that…these sounds are undistinguished. and monotonous.”25 The Down Beat rating was ♪♪ (= ”Tepid”; the other Down Beat ratings at the time were ♪♪♪♪ = “Tops,” ♪♪♪ = Tasty,” and ♪ = “Tedious”). However, Down Beat critic Michael Levin, reviewing a February, 1948, Carnegie Hall concert, was complimentary toward both Kenton and Thermopolae, complimenting Graettinger on his use of the brass as a “secondary rhythm section.”26

    According to a news release,27 presumably from Capitol Records, the title of Thermopolae is in reference to the area in Greece of the same name, though the proper spelling is “Thermopylae”; there is no explanation for the respelling. Kenton historian Peter Venudor offers one interpretation of the title when he notes, “’thermos’ = warmth;”28 however, there is little in the composition to suggest this derivation.

    After joining Stan Kenton, Graettinger accompanied the band on the road for a period of six to eight months. He wrote prolifically, being at work on the first version of City of Glass, plus other more routine arrangements. Of the latter, some dozen scores are extant, located in Stan Kenton’s office in Los Angeles. Among the titles are both originals and arrangements, including two scores for vocalist June Christy (Too Marvelous for Words; Lover Man). Graettinger must have been fond of trombone solos, as several of the arrangements were written to feature either trombonist Harry Betts (I Only Have Eyes for You; You Go to My Head) or Eddie Bert (Molshoaro). Among the strictly instrumentals are I’m in the Mood for Love, Autumn in New York, April in Paris, The Beachcomber, Condolence, and several untitled originals (a complete list is included in Appendix I).

    It is surprising that an original work, such aa Thermopolae, would be less successful compositionally than an arrangement of a standard tune, but this is indeed true in regard to the ballad, You Go to My Head. Its exact date of writing is unknown, though a mention in the previously-cited Carnegie Hall review (footnote, p. 18) places it in the same general time period as Thermopolae. It is the only Graettinger arrangement (as opposed to original composition) to ever have been recorded by Kenton and released commercially (Capitol WDX 569), though the recording date was not until September, 1952, with Bob Burgess as the trombone soloist.

    Though Graettinger’s arrangement is comprised of only one chorus, the length seems substantial, as the tune itself is long (42 mm., a a b a’ c [8-8-8-8-10]), an introduction and a coda are added, and a portion of c is repeated. In the introduction, three elements are introduced, two of which are to vie with the actual melody for dominance throughout the arrangement. The elements (Example 4) consist of:

    1. An interlocking thirds harmonic motive, involving muted trumpets, guitar and piano. The resultant chord is actually a C “mixed triad” (i.e., both major and minor thirds are present), perhaps suggested to Graettinger by the fact that the mode of the tune itself is ambiguous, both major and minor tonic chords being employed. However, the key of the arrangement is the standard E♭, rather than C.
    2. A chromatic eighth note motive, treated canonically among the alto saxophones, tenor saxophones, and third trumpet.
    3. A less prominent descending perfect fifth motive, divided among the trombones, piano, baritone sax, and bass. The culmination is the bass trombone’s BB♭, which corresponds to the pick-up note of the tune.

    Example 4. You Go to My Head, introduction motives.

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    The first sixteen measures of the tune (a a) are stated by the solo trombone, with two very different styles of background. For the initial eight measures, the two primary elements of the introduction simply continue as background, though the chromatic motive is restricted to the alto saxes, and the trumpet thirds are altered rhythmically:

    Example 5. You Go to My Head, trumpet background, [A].
    (concert pitch)

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    The rhythm section enters at [A], the chord progressions being standard, and therefore unrelated. to the background material. The descending fifths return at measure eight, leading into a complete change in texture for the second eight measures.

    Anyone who claims that a composer/arranger should master traditional techniques before attempting anything less conventional need only examine this second phrase to discover that Graettinger indeed possessed more-than-adequate traditional resources. The dissonant background elements of phrase I quickly dissolve into a simple chordal trombone background, with a unison saxophone counter-line. Though the trombone voicings are standard, they seem unusually effective, probably because of the quick juxtaposition with the preceding dissonance. The interpretation is the "warm," vibrato-less ballad style, traditionally associated with the Kenton trombone section. The prominent interval of the sax counter-line is the perfect fifth E♭-A♭, which is, perhaps coincidentally, the following interval in the previously-noted chain of descending perfect fifths.

    The ensemble replaces the solo trombone for the bridge, the tune again being presented in two quite diverse styles. The first four measures continue the straightforward, almost dance band-like style of the preceding eight, though there are more hints of the melody than overt statements. At measure five, there is a return to dissonant background, featuring the solo second trombone accompanied by rising and falling tritone polychords (G♭/C A♭/D D♭64 /G64 A♭/D G♭/C; cf. Thermopolae). The trombone, resembling the melody, reiterates the noted, though Graettinger varies the rhythms considerably. The polychords appear to have no relationship to the harmony of the tune, though the choice of C D G could be an oblique reference to the fact that the last four measures of the bridge are in G major.

    After the bridge, the polychords continue for eight measures as background for the reappearance of phrase a, in the original solo trombone. There is one important alteration in the middle four measures, the components of three of the polychords being inverted, C64 /G♭64 D64 /A♭64 D♭64 /G64 A♭/D C64 /G♭64 . The solo is joined by the second trombone, with an alternation of sixteenth note scalar motives, based on E♭ harmonic minor. The motives are in the upper register, and contain only occasional references to pitches from the tune. The contour is reminiscent of the chromatic motive from the introduction.

    The c phrase is treated diversely, the opening four measures including brief trombone and sax solis. At measure five, the poly-chords return, with the solo trombone reiterating Bb♭ as does the melody during the final six measures. However, the tune is not completed, but rather is interrupted by a sudden return of phrase c, in unison saxes, double-time. The accompanying brass chord is quintal, being complete from D♭ (bass trombone) to g2 (first and second trumpets). The saxes lead into a sudden reappearance of the introduction/letter [A] background material, being joined by piano, guitar and trumpets. Both the harmonic thirds of the introduction, and. the melodic thirds of [A] are present. The trombones reiterate B♭ in quadruple octaves (BB♭, B♭, b♭, b♭1), continuing for the full six measures.

    The brief coda introduces an angular six beat closing motive, treated canonically among the saxes and trumpets:

    Example 6. You Go to My Head, closing motive.
    (concert pitch)

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    Its key is E♭ minor, though the accompanying sustained trombone chord is E♭ major, an obvious reference to the tonal ambivalence of the tune. The motives accumulate at one beat intervals, eventually dissolving into the final, sustained D64 /E polychord. This chord also reflects the E♭ major/minor duality, for, as a whole, it comprises an E♭maj7 (+11, +9) chord, the +9 being enharmonic to the minor third.

    As noted earlier, *You Go to My Head *seems much stronger compositionally than *Thermopolae*. The vertical aspect is much less important, with a concomitant greater emphasis on motivic activity. Though there is still an absence of true counterpoint (i.e., multiple, independent, melodic lines), contrapuntal devices such as imitation and canon are employed. There is sufficient dynamic variety, a point noted in the aforementioned Carnegie Hall review. Though the orchestrational approach is still mostly sectional, there is an effort for more timbral variety, the simultaneous use of three different trumpet mutings being an obvious example. The piece is well-paced, there being ample "breathing spaces," as opposed to the constant stringency of *Thermopolae*.

    There was little critical reaction to the recording of You Go to My Head, as it was more or less lost in the gigantic package, *The Kenton Era*, in which it was released. *Metronome* critic George Simon did judge the piece to be "an intense-sounding bit of impressionistic neuroticism that, to put it most mildly, bothers me."29

    It would be interesting to determine whether Graettinger's approach to writing vocal arrangements was similar to that employed for instrumentals, and an examination of *Lover Man* reveals that it indeed was. This is somewhat surprising, as it would be expected for a vocal to be more commercial. However, the same motivic busyness that typified *You Go to My Head* is equally evident in *Lover Man*, and a greater proportion of the harmony seems unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the original. Unfortunately, none of the Graettinger vocals, including *Lover Man*, were recorded by Kenton, though the 1949 June Christy recording of *Everything Happens to Me* is a Graettinger arrangement. The back-up orchestra is Bob Cooper's, with the unusual instrumentation of trumpet, bass trumpet, trombone, alto, tenor, baritone saxes, violin, cello, piano, bass, drums, and conga.30 The original recording was a "78" (Capitol 57-578), and it was never released on an "LP" or "45."

    As noted earlier, Graettinger was at work during 1947-48 on the extended composition, *City of Glass*, the work that was to become his most well-known effort. Though the premiere took place on February 19, 1948, in Chicago's Civic Opera House, the recording that was to attract such wide attention was not made until 1951, the piece having been expanded for Kenton's "Innovations" Orchestra (strings added, etc.). The detailed. discussion will be in that context, in Chapter VI.

  • 4. Westlake

    4. Westlake

    After his initial period with the Stan Kenton band, Bob Graettinger suddenly “disappeared” for several months, Kenton being under the impression that he left in order to study. Assuming a teacher, Kenton asked for details, but was told that Graettinger really wasn’t studying with anybody…just studying with himself…trying to work some things out.31 Graettinger was probably gone for approximately one year, as Kenton copyist Clinton Roemer’s files show no Graettinger scores copied between Fine and Dandy (for June Christy, September, 1948) and Incident in Jazz (October, 1949; the Kenton band was inactive during 1949, the latter part of the year being devoted to preparation for the “Innovations” tour of 1950, for which Incident in Jazz was written).

    It is widely assumed that Graettinger was a self-taught composer, a notion perhaps given credence by Kenton’s remarks, and certainly suggested by Graettinger’s own comments in a 1954 interview: “I’ve never had a technique to execute my ideas…I’ve never studied music formally…”32 However, there was one figure with whom Graettinger was associated for a number of years who played a definite role in the refinement of his compositional. skills, and with whom he undoubtedly studied during at least a portion of his absence from Kenton: Russell Garcia, the prominent Hollywood composer, arranger, author, and teacher. Their relationship was no doubt informal and not in the traditional teacher/student mold, so that Graettinger’s remarks to Merrilyn Hammond were probably not insincere. However, he had other educational experiences, and it is curious that he did not offer an acknowledgment.

    Graettinger studied with Garcia from 1946 to 1949 or 1950, both privately and in classes at Los Angeles’ Westlake College of Music.33 The latter institution was primarily devoted to the study of jazz and film music, coming into existence in the post-World War II years. It flourished for a number of years, but, unlike its east coast counterpart, Berklee, it eventually went into decline, closing in the early 1960s.

    One of the instructors at Westlake during the late 1940’s was David Robertson, a pianist who had originally been a student at the school, and was subsequently added. to the faculty, teaching a variety of subjects. He and Graettinger eventually because close friends, and he offers an interesting account of their first contact:

    I first saw Bob when he showed. up in a…studio orchestration class at Westlake College, probably in 1948 or 49 (this could have been a Russ Garcia class1 …I have no clear picture of who the instructor was) but I do have a clear picture of the person in charge introducing Bob as Stan Kenton’s arranger (Stan being more or less the patron saint of Westlake) —and nailing him by asking for some comments on what was happening with Kenton. Bob is shy, and having to talk in front of this bunch of strangers must have been terribly traumatic (besides, how does one sum up the complex and diversified and personal things being done by several arrangers, in a quick three minutes?). Bob came up with something about cluster chords, demonstrated two or three at the piano, and the class went on.

    I think he had recently come in from New York, and I believe that the band was still there.34

    If Robertson’s dates are correct, it may be assumed that Graettinger’s first contact with Westlake was upon his departure from the Kenton band. He remained until ca. 1950, taking the usual classes in composition, orchestration, and conducting, and also several in Schillinger techniques. Among the instructors were Dr. Alfred Sendrey, David Holguin, Roger Segure, and Jack Stern.35

    Graettinger was also an instructor at Westlake, teaching composition and arranging privately. Among his students were tenor saxist Bob Cooper, and pianist Forrest Westbrook, who was to become one of Graettinger’s few close friends).36

    Of Graettinger’s surviving scores, one is most certainly from his “Westlake period,” as it bears the Westlake imprint, and the inscription, “Hollywood 1/50.” LINK The untitled piece is for string orchestra, is in two movements, and is so brief as to suggest an exercise. However, an abundance of dynamics, phrase markings, and bowing indications would, perhaps, indicate a more formal purpose (The bowing indications are abundant to the point of naiveté, as most are unnecessary, for example, the down-bow marks on initial downbeats.). The piece is unique, in that, of Graettinger’s extant scores, it is one of only three that are purely “classical,” the others being an untitled quintet for flute and strings and the extended Suite for String Trio and Wind Quartet, Graettinger’s last composition (see Chapter IX).

    The first movement is for violins divisi a 3, violas, celli and bass. It consists of only thirty-eight measures (all 4/4 except one 3/4), = 144. The form. is clearly A B A’ (13-14-11), with a double bar delineating each section. As might be anticipated, the contrast between A and B is that of strongly rhythmic versus lyrical material. The melodic/harmonic resources can best be described as pandiatonic, the key being G major (a key signature is used). The pitches are almost totally diatonic, notable exceptions being two upper-strings forays into flats (mm. 6 and 12), creating brief poly-keys. Prominent Gs (As) serve as transition notes. The texture of the movement is almost totally constant, being contrapuntal., of varying degrees of complexity. Only three actual chords are employed, these occurring at m. 27 (an altered dominant, penultimate to the “recapitulation”), mm. 32-34 (a climax, featuring trilled polychords), and the conclusion (a surprising Emaj9), Section A opens with three-voice counterpoint, increasing to five at measure eight. There are three distinct motives, each of which is prominently imitated (see Example 7).

    Example 7 Untitled string orchestra piece, I, mm. 1-6 (facsimlle).

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    The B section also begins with three-voice counterpoint, though the texture increases to only four (m. 20). The material is totally derived from the cello thoroughbass-like line of A, this line being repeated verbatim in the violas, SD, The other three voices consist of free rhythmic variations of the thoroughbass pitches, either in the original order (violins A and C, m, 20), or retrograde (cello, m, 14, but actually beginning in the bass at m, 12). The prominent second violin consists of both original (m. 14, but actually beginning at m, 7) and retrograde (m, 19) forms.

    The second movement is for the unusual instrumentation of violas divisi a 3, solo cello, and percussion, the latter being, presumably, a drum set, The length is again quite short, consisting of only seventeen 4/4 measures, = 69, This movement does have one obvious feature in common with the first, the predominantly contrapuntal texture, The solo cello is unaccompanied for six measures, and is then joined at one-measure intervals by the percussion and divisi violas, each with independent material, The general effect is a “rhythmic crescendo,” the broad rhythms of the opening becoming diminished, culminating in a climax at measure thirteen, Thereafter, the violas quickly fade, leaving the solo cello and percussion alone for the conclusion.

    The second movement expands the limited serialism of the first to full dodecaphony, O0 being presented. by the solo cello. The row usage is straightforward, perhaps somewhat mechanical. Each voice is concerned. with only one series, the divisi violas presenting two statements each of R2, RI10, and, I6 respectively. Except for mm, 12-13, the derivation of which is inexplicable, the cello repeats O0 four times. The repetitions contain comparatively few octave displacements, the principal technique being that of repeating the general contour of the row, with rhythmic variation. Graettinger did allow himself the liberty of reversing certain pairs of notes, specifically 1 - 2, and 11 - 12. The construction of the row reveals no significant features, though there is an avoidance of perfect fourths, fifths, and tritones. Similarly, there seems to be no significance in the choice of permutations other than the obvious use of all four basic forms. Because of its brevity, the second movement is presented in its entirety (see Example 8).

    Example 8 Untitled string orchestra piece, II (facsimlle).

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    Rhythmically, both movements reveal weaknesses, the only less obvious device being the varied use of triplets. The fact that there are only five ties between measures in the entire piece suggests an over adherence to the bar line. The percussion part of the second movement, a one-measure pattern repeated eight times, seems banal.

    It is interesting to note Graettinger’s youthful conviction, obviously later abandoned, that he shouldn’t study with anyone, because “he didn’t want his own creative talents tainted by another’s.”37 Also, it should be noted that Peter Venudor refers to Graettinger as a “student of Arnold Schönberg,”38 though this should probably not be interpreted literally, but rather in the general sense of a student of Schonberg’s ideas, music, etc. If Venudor intended a literal interpretation, he does not cite a source, and the research for the present study has not produced a confirmation.

  • 5. Innovations

    5. Innovations

    After the 1940’s, Stan Kenton continued occasionally to change the focus of his band with a continuation of the “periods” that are, in retrospect, easily identifiable. Undoubtedly, the most unique was the ambitious project of 1950-51, in which Kenton consummated the direction in which his band had been moving for several years—that is, to cease any pretense of being a dance band, instead pursuing the concept of & pure concert jazz ensemble. Kenton elaborated in a 1952 interview, his remarks being germane, even though by that time, this period had expired:

    “It [Bob Graettinger’s City of Glass] is an example of the kind of music jazz is going to become. Jazz for a long time was mixed up with pop music. Now, as it has always been in Europe, jazz is being differentiated. from pop music as well as classical music. The modernists deserve the credit for proving that jazz doesn’t have to be danced to.

    “As a matter of fact,” Kenton warmed up, “I don’t think jazz was meant to continue as dance music. People got the idea just because it was confused with pop music…Jazz has to develop; it can’t always remain just functional dance music.

    “What jazz is going to evolve into is an American style of—if I can use the word—classical music. And that’s what we’re trying to do.39

    The project was indeed ambitious, as the instrumentation grew from the twenty of the Progressive Jazz Orchestra, to forty, with the addition of strings (ten violins, three violas, three celli), Horns, tuba, and Latin percussion. The ever-present catch phrase was now “Innovations in Modern Music.” There were two versions of the “Innovations” Orchestra, representing the years 1950 and 1951, respectively. Both were presented on concert tours, the first being the more extensive, opening in Seattle on February 9, 1950, and continuing to more than seventy cities in the U.S. and Canada. It is interesting to note that the band gave a pre-tour “workshop concert” in January at Los Angeles’s Philharmonic Auditorium. The admission-free, by-invitation event was primarily intended for critics, musicians, and students, the over flow throng being requested to submit written reactions to the music.

    The second Innovations tour was comparatively brief, opening in Dallas on September 27, 1951, and closing in Los Angeles on November 30. Kenton commented in a Down Beat interview that his purpose was to feature repeats of material from the first tour, rather than analyze new compositions, he elaborated:

    “This time we want to give many of our listeners the opportunity for that second hearing that is so important where new music of real value is concerned. And I want to take full advantage of the fact that by now many of our listeners have become familiar via our records with the things we originally introduced for the first time in our ‘Innovations’ concerts.”40

    The music of the Innovations period is best represented. on record by the albums Innovations in Modern Music (Capitol V-189) and Kenton Presents (Capitol T-248). The composers, in addition to Kenton and Bob Graettinger, were Pete Rugolo, Bill Russo, Shorty Rogers, Franklyn Marks, Johnny Richards, Manny Albam, Neal Hefti, Laurindo Almeida, and Chico O’Farrlll. Graettinger was represented on the first tour by Incident in Jazz, and on the second by House of Strings, and the reorchestrated City of Glass. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of the scores is currently unknown, though the original parts of Incident in Jazz are among the surviving Graettinger materials in Stan Kenton’s office (see Appendix I). All three compositions are available on recordings.

    Incident in Jazz (originally titled An Incident in Sound) was included in the Innovations in Modern Music album, the recording date being February 4, 1950. The brief (approximately 3:20) composition is stylistically reminiscent of Thermopolae in that a similar austere, weighty atmosphere prevails, though the medium-fast tempo and more-varied texture of Incident lighten the effect somewhat. The piece opens with a brief ensemble introduction that highlights a dissonant treatment of the rhythms:

    My Image

    Thereafter, the piece is clearly tripartite, the first section featuring an angular, bebop-like saxophone theme, in octaves. The theme is light and airy, and is row-derived, though the original series contains repetitions. Again, Graettinger takes liberties with certain pairs of notes.

    Example 9 Incident in Jazz, saxophone theme
    (transcribed by Robert Morgan; concert pitch)

    My Image

    There are three statements of the theme, with a digression between the last two (i.e., a ab a’  the repeats of a are slightly elongated.). The background begins sparsely, with rhythm section only. Included. are linear piano and guitar figures that recall Thermopolae, if for no other reason than that both compositions feature written-out parts, as opposed to “comping.” The piano figure is an irregular ostinato, as is the perfect fourth bass figure of a 2 (cf. Thermopolae). A1 and A2 are separated by a muted brass interspersion that is the beginning of a background design that becomes more and more insistent, finally overpowering the last statement of a, and then subsiding for the appearance of the second section. The prominent feature of the brass figure is quarter note triplets, becoming a Graettinger trademark.

    The ensemble material of the second section is so varied as to appear through-composed, but a close examination reveals a procedure not unlike that of the first—that is, a theme repeated several times, with various filler and background. material. The details are very different, however, as the theme (an ascending quarter-note triplet figure) is treated with variety in “key” and instrumentation, and the background is, overall, much denser. Especially notable is the addition of the strings, previously tacet, and a change in the rhythmic texture, the rhythm. section (though not the ensemble) “double timing,” and Latin percussion being added. The rhythmic effect is not maintained throughout, but reverts to the original at the approximate midway point. Saxophones are much less visible in the second section, the solo trombone being prominent in addition to the strings. The string writing is surprisingly lush, even having somewhat commercial overtones.

    After a sudden break, the opening piano ostinato returns, signaling a reappearance of the saxophone theme. What begins as a simple recapitulation soon becomes otherwise, as the theme from the second section is added to the first, both being treated canonically. The texture becomes quite complex, with new voices entering and new material appearing. The culmination is a period of intense cacophony, followed by another sudden break. The ensuing ensemble coda is similar to the introduction, in that the same syncopated rhythm is highlighted, again dissonantly, though otherwise the material is dissimilar. There is a final statement of the first theme, after which is one of several Graettinger endings that could have been intended as humorous—a simple, sustained major triad, appearing suddenly in the trumpets.

    The comparison with Thermopolae extend a to the estimate of Incident in Jazz as a deficient piece of music. Though the introduction and the opening theme are of interest, and the theme’s ambiguity might appropriately suggest an ambiguous setting, the results are too incohesive to satisfy the initial promise. Ideas come from nowhere, and lead to nowhere. There is an abundance of harmony, but, like Thermopolae, it is vague and directionless, and only adds to the overall pall, Metronome was critical, commenting, “A trite bop figure is drawn through some canonic passages which would have been more persuasive if the high voices hadn’t been lost in the recording, Bongoes [sic] don’t help.”41

    Stan Kenton recalls that, when Graettinger first submitted House of Strings, the piece was rejected, Kenton finding “fault with it in some way.”42 The piece was rewritten, and it is this version that is included in the Kenton Presents album, the recording date being August 24, 1950, Kenton was very fond, “in fact…thrilled” with the new House of Strings, even commenting, from that time on, everything that Graettinger wrote I didn’t contest at all, because I felt that he had arrived and he knew what he was doing.”43 Metronome obviously concurred, commenting, “The House of Strings presents what is possibly the finest string performance on records, in or out of jazz, in a brilliant organization of twelve-tone resources by Bob Graettinger, who comes of musical age with this work.”44

    House of Strings will not be dwelt upon in the present study, other than to observe that the piece is a hodgepodge of one confused texture after another, none bearing any relationship to jazz. The eclecticism ranges from “modern” techniques (upper-register sustained, dissonances, harmonics, glissandi) to almost-Classical homophony, with glimpses of Hindemith (counterpoint), early Schoenberg (post-Wagnerian chromaticism, e.g., Verklärte Nacht), and even Roy Harris (a pentatonic cello motive). There is a violin/cello duet, and additional effects (trills, pizzicato), all within approximately 4:00. Though a theme is employed, its exact fate is difficult to discern, because of the variety of muddled settings. Kenton’s and Metronome’s enthusiasm could perhaps be an instance of specialists in one medium not actually comprehending the values of another supposedly loftier one, and therefore being unduly servile.

  • 6. City of Glass

    6. City of Glass

    Robert Graettinger may be considered to have written three “magna opera,” the jazz orchestra suites City of Glass and This Modern World (for Stan Kenton), and the previously-cited Suite for String Trio and Wind Quartet. As noted in Chapter III, the first version of City of Glass was written during the “Progressive Jazz” years of 1947-48, the premiere occurring in Chicago in February, 1948. There were additional performances, with the composer conducting, though the piece was never recorded for public consumption.

    Graettinger took advantage of the expanded “Innovations” orchestra by producing a second version of City of Glass to conform to the new instrumentation. This premiere was scheduled for the opening “Innovations-II” concert in Dallas, but the piece was deleted from the program, as it also was two days later (September 29, 1951) in Houston, the latter being the first concert reviewed by Down Beat. Apparently, the second Innovations tour was not as carefully prepared and rehearsed as the first, this being the reason stated by the Down Beat reviewer for the postponements.45 He further observes that the entire concert reflected lack of adequate preparation, and expresses concern that a project of this size and scope would be so managed, especially in regard to City of Glass, for which a full page of the program notes was devoted to a description. Jack McKinney relates that the piece was never performed publicly in its entirety, though certain sections were presented independently.46 This is substantiated by Peter Venudor, who notes a performance of the third section, “Dance Before the Mirror” at Cornell University, October 14, 1951,47 and by critic Bill Coss, whose Carnegie Hall concert review mentions the final section, “Reflections.”48 The piece was recorded on December 5 and 7, 1951, in a recording session described by Venudor as “one of the longest lasting in Kenton’s history,”49 and released as a ten-inch LP (Capitol H-353). It was later re-released as a twelve-inch LP (Capitol W-736), with This Modern World as the companion-piece.

    City of Glass was originally conceived in three movements, but the first was divided into two (I. “Entrance Into The City”; II. “The Structures”) at the time of the recording. The scores are, unfortunately, among those missing, except for pages 1 (see p. vii and 3-7 of the first movement, which remain in Stan Kenton’s office. From the recording, it would be logical to assume dodecaphony, but the score fragments reveal a non-serial motivic approach, reminiscent of You Go to My Head, but on a much larger scale. It should be recalled that the first version of City of Glass was written at the same time as You Go to My Head, probably antedating Graettinger’s initial acquaintance with dodecaphony.

    The basis for the conception of City of Glass was Graettinger’s renowned graph system (renown, that is, among jazz musicians). The system involved the use of graphs pre-compositionally, rather than in performance, and the process, at least as it pertains to City of Glass, was explained. to Carol Easton by saxophonist Art Pepper, a colleague and friend of Graettinger.

    He drew a city, coming into the city, with colors, on the graph paper. As you would approach the city, there wouldn’t be much, occasionally a little sign or something, and the sign would be just so many squares of color, condensed., like a block of sound. Then as you approached the city, more and more things would happen—more notes, more colors. When it was daytime, it would be bright colors, depicting a whole city—buildings and trees and sidewalks and people. A tree would be like a tree in the picture, and when you saw the score, there would be all kinds of notes that would look like a tree. If it was a bright tree• then it would be bright instruments, like trumpets, that had a high, bright tonality [sic]. If it was dull and dark and dreary, he would use lower sounds, dreary, subtle sounds—trombones, or bass. For the solos, he used each person’s particular sound, depending on what he wanted—a sad sound or a bright sound, or dull, or morbid. If you knew the format, you could actually see the pictures of what was happening.50

    If Graettinger actually employed graphs in such a mundane manner, it was a youthful experiment to be abandoned for more sophisticated practices (see Chapter VIII). However, City of Glass is definitely programmatic Graettinger himself explaining the program in a set of notes prepared for the album liner:

    The City of Glass derives its inspiration from the interplay and counterpoint of the energies and forces that I see and feel in the world around me. In writing it, my endeavor has been to have the music describe my visions. In this particular work my music has described a city in which the buildings are structures of energy. Structures that are in constant motion and that are transparent so that the motion of one can be seen through the motion of another and many others through these. A city of moving glass-like structures.

    Superimposed on this is the evolution or unfolding of the work itself, which has attempted to suggest changing degrees of illumination. For instance the different positions of the sun during one day. With this as a basis for analogy, a description of the music is as follows:

    Part 1: “Entrance Into the City”

    “Opens with a very gradual transition from a distant perspective that envelops the entire scene to a (relatively) close perspective that dwells on single objects during which the early morning sun momentarily catches and reflects on various high points of the city’s glimmering architecture. Once descended, there follows an imaginary stroll down the avenues of the city in which the structures are exposed and briefly developed and occasionally merged with each other to form new entities.”51

    The music of the first movement clearly reflects Graettinger’s program, being divided into two sections. The first (moderately slow, 2/4), presumably representing the “distant perspective,” is loud and cacophonous with a complex background texture of motoric sixteenth notes, mostly in upper register saxophones, trumpets (open and muted), strings, and Horns. Against this backdrop, numerous small motives are stated, but the instruments and registers are identical to the background, resulting in a single kaleidoscopic fabric rather than anything resembling homophony. Characteristically, many of the motives are triplet-based. As the music progresses, the texture thins, the tessitura lowers, and a slight ritenuto coincides with the beginning of the second section.

    The new section, presumably depicting the “imaginary stroll,” consists of a series of unrelated events, most displaying much more clarity in texture than the first section. The first event features a bassoon/saxophone broken chord ostinato supporting an angular triplet-eighth-note violin line, with a solo trumpet obbligato. Another is more jazz-oriented, featuring an exaggerated “swung” eighth note figure repeated successively in the brass, trombones, Horns, and saxophones, with various counter-figures. After several other events, the movement ends somewhat suddenly, with a quickly swelling string/Horn chord, which could be interpreted as A9, with both major and minor sevenths, and the diminished fifth. The total duration is approximately 4:20.

    Though most of Graettinger’s music is highly individualistic, portions of “Entrance Into the City” do suggest the orchestral music of Berg.

    Part 2: “The Structures”
    …is devoted to a close inspection of several of these masses of energy. For this, a perspective of extreme awareness of each has been suggested by the use of only one family of instruments at a time—first the brass, then the strings, then saxophones. To hint that the sun has by now almost reached its summit in the sky and that a corresponding climax is about to take place in the metropolis, the movement ends in a mood of anticipation and excitement.52

    The second movement is divided into the three sections alluded to by Graettinger, plus a final ensemble passage. The meter is indistinct, but the rhythmic procedure is that which is emerging as a definite Graettinger trait, a steady, simple-meter pulse (in this instance, moderately fast), obscured by the use of triplets, ties, etc. The duration is approximately 3:45.

    A tuba solo opens the movement, after which the trombones and trumpets quickly enter pyramid-like, the material being loud, dissonant, motivic counterpoint, another trait becoming characteristic of Graettinger. This is interrupted by a brief “swinging” passage, followed by a reverse pyramid, at the end of which the emerging tuba is replaced by the string bass. The ensuing string section is formally identical to the brass, consisting of opening and closing pyramids, with a connecting passage (a timpani solo). The opening string material is multi-voice counterpoint, initially slow-moving, but becoming more complex as the timpani entrance approaches. The closing material is quite contrasted, consisting of layers of pizzicato fragments.

    A guitar solo serves as an effective bridge between the strings and saxophones. Beginning with the baritone, the saxes also enter pyramid-like, but very quickly. The material is five-voice motivic counterpoint, and is reminiscent of the brass, even in terms of its aggressiveness. This section is abbreviated, as the Horns enter, signaling the addition of the entire ensemble. It might be expected for the culmination to be the familiar Graettinger cacophony, but instead, unison double-time saxophone lines appear, supported by a return of the slow-moving string counterpoint. The brass enter, and lead to a series of loud, sustained, dissonant ensemble chords, to end the movement.

    Part 3: “Dance Before the Mirror”
    “Takes place at high noon in a maze of midday light before a huge mirror which enables you to see the towers of the city whichever way you turn, only now they are seen with added motion that would result from viewing them while whirling around in a spirited dance. After this dance has reached its peak of intensity you are suddenly thrown outwards as if by centrifugal. force. There is a frenzied climax and then abrupt silence.”53

    The third movement contains the most overt jazz of the entire piece, the meter being mostly, though not totally, “swinging” 4/4, The duration is approximately the same as the first movement (4:20). with the fastest tempo of the piece, = ca. 208.

    Like the other movements of City of Glass, the third is through composed., and, though the material is probably the most disparate of the four, it is formally obvious, being divisible into three parts. The first opens with soft, delicate, busy string counterpoint, the taut quality of which is heightened. by occasional timpani punctuations and the motoric guiro. The strings become background for various diverse saxophone, trombone, and Horn figures, among which an upper register half-note solo trombone theme is especially prominent. A sudden halt of the timpani and guiro ends the section with a series of overlapping quarter notes serving as a bridge to the next.

    The second section, for which the rhythm section enters, is strongly reminiscent of, though of course antedating, Incident in Jazz. Not only is the latter recalled by certain motives, but the forms are similar, the present material also being A B A, at least in terms of rhythmic setting (A = “swinging” 4/4, featuring angular sax soli; B = change to Latin rhythm, featuring strings; A = return to “swinging” 4/4, strings and saxes featured, alternating similar material).

    Half note motives in Horns and saxes displaced one beat, serve as a bridge to the final section, with a brief reappearance of the upper register solo trombone. Thereafter, the sections trade disparate material, with the strings featured in an extended. passage, without rhythm section, For the climax of the movement. Graettinger employs a traditional device, the “outchorus,” that is, a “swinging” ensemble chorus, here repeated (partially), as is customary. The material features brass, interlaced. with strings and saxes. As noted above, the ending is sudden, consisting of a jagged ensemble rise-and-fall, with a bass trombone “stinger.”

    Part 4: “Reflection”
    “Starts softly and the orchestration suggests the rich somber hues of late afternoon in a garden. Only now and then can the structures be seen through the foliage. There is a gradual feeling of ascension, as if walking up an incline, and presently a clearing is approached. Once again a distant perspective envelops the entire scene of the City of Glass, the structures now reflecting the fiery blaze of the sunset. The composition concludes as darkness slowly falls on the city.”54

    The last movement of City of Glass should be described in its entirety as contemporary classical.” music, having the least orientation of any of the movements to jazz. Perhaps not coincidentally, it is the most successful of the four, and, in fact, is outstanding among Graettinger’s entire output. A high degree of imagination and skill is evident, and many earlier weaknesses, such as the tendency to over-compose, dynamic sameness, over adherence to bar lines, lack of direction, etc., are no longer evident. Considering the dates of writing and rewriting, “Reflections” should probably be considered. Graettinger’s first work as a mature composer.

    The program is clearly suggested in the fourth movement, the tempo of which is moderate (4/4), duration approximately 3:50. The first portion is through-composed, and consists primarily of motivic counterpoint, though there are effective uses of harmony. The motives are longer and more lyrical than previously, and the textures are unusually clear for Graettinger. There is more emphasis on individual instruments, with those having “classical” implications (i.e., flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, Horns, strings, and the very effective harp-like guitar) being prominent. Saxophones and percussion appear occasionally, though the latter does not include drum set (there is no jazz “time” in the entire movement). The trumpets and trombones are reserved for the climactic second half, which, after a gradual increase-decrease-increase in volume and density (the “ascension”), opens with a literal explosion. The remainder of the movement is the familiar Graettinger fff cacophony, which is here an extraordinary effect, the powerful strands being imaginatively conceived, and seeming the logical culmination of the first section. The effectiveness is heightened by the sustained string tremolo (on c), which provides a welcome point of reference for the entire passage. The strings eventually join the ensemble texture, and the material dissipates into a fragilely dissonant closing chord, very effective in its rootlessness. The chord fades, leaving sustained unison Horns, also on c.

    The first portion of the final movement is frequently reminiscent of Hindemith, and it would even be tempting to relate the prominent solo Horn to the Horn Concerto, except that the latter was not premiered until 1950.

    Upon its release, City of Glass created a sensation, particularly among jazz musicians and devotees, but also in the music world in general. Though it had certainly been preceded by other “classically”-oriented works for jazz band, it was decidedly the most ambitious in terms of length, instrumentation, and the fact that it encompassed a new, popularly unfamiliar musical vocabulary. Also significant was the fact of its debut by means of the recently introduced “LP,” thereby affording immediate widespread dissemination. The attention received is evidenced by the reviews, appearing not only in the jazz journals, but also, for example, in Musical America, The Library Journal, the British Gramophone, and the Dutch Glorieuze Klanken.

    Metronome reported unfavorably, critic Barry Ulanov commenting:

    There is no point in rating the four-part suite by Bob Graettinger in terms of A to D: it is neither jazz nor popular music in any of the several senses in which those categories are generally understood; its only connection with the previous achievement of either the composer (Graettinger) or the conductor (Kenton) is the vigorous performance the latter elicits in behalf of the former. As music it seems to me to fall somewhere between Schoenberg and Schillinger, but most of all to fall, nowhere suggesting the understanding of atonal or twelve-tone composing traditions to be found in the same writer’s House of Strings…the overall impression is of a muddled modern work ill-defined in purpose and not much closer to a work of art than science fiction.55

    The other reviews were generally favorable, Gramophone, for example, observing:

    The borrowings of Stravinsky, Milhaud and Copland from jazz are well known. Robert Graettinger’s City of Glass presents, so to speak, the other side of the pictures the borrowings of jazz from Stravinsky and other modern composers…I tried it on several listeners without saying what it was. Hindemith, guessed one, rather hesitantly, and then, after some passages of bitonality in characteristic cross-rhythms, Stravinsky. Schoenberg, was another suggestion for the opening of the fourth movement. In the solidity of the sound, and the concrete shapes it seems to evoke, the work perhaps owes something to Varese’s Octandre and Density 21.5. In any case, this is an impressive piece which deserves to be taken seriously, It is a tone-poem in four movements, brilliantly played and excellently recorded.56

    Down Beat rates the performance and recording of City of Glass “four stars” each (out of a possible five), but devotes the discussion to the composition itself, in a review notable for its ridiculous “jive” jargon. Though critic Rob Darrell is generally impressed, he does offer several criticisms:

    It’s almost intolerably harsh and shrill in stretches. Some of the stunts are beaten to exhaustion, a few are thrown away before they really get going, and oftentimes the use of too many effects at once tends to cancel out much of their impact. I wish Graettinger were as clever a dramatic psychologist as he is a sound pattern weaver, for his work needs more astute editing and organization. Yet, for all that, he’s got something here that’s brashly alive and at its best tremendously exciting.

    Many of his strictly musical ideas might have come straight out of the futurismus experiements of the symphonic enfants terribles of the ‘20’s—and he could profit by a refresher course in Stravinsky’s later works to learn more about thinning out these ideas and developing the best of them either more tersely or more fully, according to their demands.

    But in clothing these ideas in brittle, acrid, but always electrifying sounds, Graettinger is a genuine pioneer in his own right.57

    From a vantage point of twenty years thence, the preceding criticisms of City of Glass still seem to be appropriate. Especially in regard to the first three movements, the music is frequently unimaginative and overly-bombastic, and contains little to suggest an organic unfolding of musical thought. Despite the unevenness, the writing does seem to improve as the piece progresses, culminating in the totally arresting fourth movement. There is no doubt that the composer matured significantly in the piece, and it is quite possible that this process is reflected in the music. It is tragic that the maturity only glimpsed here was not to be ultimately realized.

    Throughout Graettinger’s association with Stan Kenton, he would periodically travel with the band, though he was always reluctant to do so, preferring to remain in Los Angeles, writing. His existence there, according to Clinton Roemer, was “like the novel or motion picture version ot the starving composer living in the garret,”58 a view substantiated by Kenton, who recalls Graettinger living in cheap rooms (garage apartments, etc.) where he could be alone, and play the piano at any time.59 He had few possessions and dressed shabbily, his staff arranger’s stipend being only twenty-five dollars per week. Kenton would occasionally attempt to increase the amount, but Graettinger would steadfastly refuse, obviously being disinterested in material comfort.

    It might follow that Graettinger would be equally unconcerned about his physical well-being, and such was indeed the case. He ate poorly, slept little (“Sleep in the grave,”60 Carol Easton quotes him as remarking), and was always very thin. Kenton was concerned about his health, this being one of the reasons Graettinger would be asked to go on the road, so that someone could look after his habits. He would usually ride in a private car, with Johnny Richards, Gene Roland, and Kenton. The latter’s concern extended to Graettinger’s mental as well as physical health, as Kenton thought it beneficial for him to “see a little bit of the outside world.”61 Graettinger’s characterization as a “recluse” and “loner” is supported by fellow-arranger Bill Holman, who, curiously, remarked to Carol Easton, “‘I never had a conversation with him. When he came out on the road, he would hang out with management, and I was labor; I think he might have been more pro-labor than management, but he always wound up there.”62

    Graettinger never married, though Kenton, Carol Easton, and Max Cramer all mention an involved relationship with Gale Madden, a “legitimate” pianist. According to Easton, the two lived together from 1947 to 1949, Madden having previously lived with and borrowed the surname of saxist Dave Madden, though never marrying him. Apparently Ms. Madden was fond of saxists, as Graettinger was succeeded by Gerry Mulligan.

  • 7. This Modern World

    7. This Modern World

    Bob Graettinger’s sequel to City of Glass was This Modern World, a set of six pieces composed in the early 1950s. Though presented as an entity, it is doubtful that the movements were originally conceived as such, as the instrumentation varies drastically, and the recordings were accomplished over a span of some one and one-half years, from December 5, 1951, to May 28, 1953 (see Appendix II). First released. independently (Capitol H-460), the piece was subsequently re-released with City of Glass, as previously noted. So far as is known, the only movement to have been performed publicly was III, “A Cello,” Peter Venudor noting its inclusion in the second Innovations tour.63

    Except for the opening page of II, “Some Saxophones,” the only extant score of This Modern World is that of “A Cello.” However, parts exist for I, “A Horn,” V, “A Trumpet,” and VI, “An Orchestra,” from which, of course, scores could be compiled, this having been accomplished for “A Trumpet.” There are apparently no remnants of the remaining movement, IV, “A Thought.”

    Though there are diverse styles represented in This Modern World, the overall idiom seems similar to City of Class, being atonal, mostly through composed, with an emphasis on intricate contrapuntal textures. The scores reveal some use of serial techniques, though the instances are sufficiently infrequent to suggest the presence of some overriding process. In addition to graphs, the record jacket notes the use of “mathematical computations,” and, considering Graettinger’s documented familiarity with Schillinger procedures, it is quite possible that therein is the derivation of his technique. However, the discovery of the process defies casual analysis, if it is indeed discernable solely from the music.

    In addition to the acknowledged similarities, there are important differences between City of Glass and This Modern World, to be expected, considering the several years separating their dates of composing. The latter work, totally un-programmatic, is more jazz-oriented, and continues the compositional maturity noted in the last movement of City of Glass. The movements are generally well-paced, with a clear sense of direction so lacking in some of the earlier pieces. Harmonic interest is greater, and there is less reliance on the previously abused device of cacophony. Peter Venudor contrasts the two works most succinctly when he observes, “This Modern World is the product of Graettinger’s power over the sounds that first [i.e., in City of Glass] had power over him.64

    Of the six movements of This Modern World, three are outstanding: “Some Saxophones,” “A Thought,” and “A Trumpet,” the latter perhaps being Graettinger’s finest composition. The remaining movements, though certainly displaying merit, reveal many of the earlier weaknesses. Despite the question of original intention, the grouping of the six provides an interesting contrast in instrumentation, the latter being specified in the following observations,

    I. “A Horn”
    Instrumentation: “Innovations” Orchestra.
    Duration: approximately 4:00

    The first movement, as well as the third, presents the interesting situation of a “legitimate” soloist accompanied by jazz band in a concerto-like setting, a novel idea largely ignored by arrangers. Though “A Horn” was written for the noted jazz performer John Graas, the requirements of the solo part are totally “legitimate,” placing the piece in the aforementioned context.

    Unfortunately, both solo movements are deficient, partly because of the nature of the material itself, and also because of Graettinger’s failure to convincingly integrate the diverse elements, admittedly a difficult task.

    “A Horn” is the only later Graettinger piece to employ tonal centers, having an overall orientation of c. However, the primary theme, stated by the Horn after a brief string introduction, is dodecaphon1c, with an opening glissando octave that is strongly reminiscent of “Reflections” :

    Example 10. “A Horn,” opening theme.
    (transcribed by Robert Morgans concert pitch)

    My Image

    Repetition of this theme is the basis for the first section of the movement, the total form being tripartite. The strings’ delicate counterpoint remains as background, with interspersions between statements provided by saxophones, the latter then joining the background. As the theme is repeated, it is changed discreetly, mostly by means of added pitch repetitions, am the tonal center shifts to C. The section closes with upper register brass and an angular Horn “call,” the latter repeated over string tremolos and diverse ensemble figures, some of which hint the approaching double-time.

    The second section returns to C, but parallels the first in subsequently shifting to C. The rhythmic setting undergoes a marked change, the faster tempo being highlighted by Latin-esque percussion. After a series of scurrying saxophone figures, the Horn enters with highly rhythmic and virtuosic material contrasting the preceding lyricism. There are intricate figures, fast tonguing, etc., all covering a fairly wide range. Modal influences are evident, notably the augmented fourth and second scale degrees. The prominent background device is a repeated stacatto pedal figure, initially in the English horn (c), but subsequently shifted to pizzicato strings (c).

    The final section opens with a recapitulation of the opening Horn solo, but with a greatly altered setting, the rhythm section being added with “time,” and accented, fluid saxophone chords providing background. The texture quickly becomes more complex as the strings soon appear, followed. by trombones. Tonally, the section reveals a logical progression from the previous, the tonal center being D. The ensemble is much more prominent, with strings and saxophones featured in a conspicuous rhythm section-less passage, in which the twelve-tone theme is vaguely discernable. Virtuosic fragments appear in the Horn, strongly reminiscent of the B section, if not actually derived therefrom. The movement has a distinct coda, in which cadenza-like Horn figures are interrupted by portions of the ensemble, with a reappearance of the angular Horn “call.” A sustained string tremolo on d, joined by the Horn, seems to foretell an ending in that “key,” but a sudden twist reverts to the original (C), the sustained Horn d becoming the ninth in the closing C major (with extensions) sonority.

    II. “Some Saxophones”
    Instrumentation: Five saxophones alto, alto, tenor, tenor, baritone (no rhythm).
    Duration: approximately 3:10.

    It is unusual for a Graettinger piece to be concerned with, or even reflect an awareness of, the notion of understatement, but such is indeed the case with “Some Saxophones.” The piece consists primarily of a succession of gently dissonant textures, undergoing changes in a pointillistic manner. It is totally athematic, atonal, and through-composed., and relies on both jazz and “classical” concepts. Though the conception is basically chordal, there are effective uses of unison, and subtle imitation. Glissandi are frequent, the only other “effect” being the occasional use of trills.

    The only score remnant of “Some Saxophones” is the first page, and its opening of nine different notes (see Example 11) suggests a tone row, a notion supported by the fact of the nine-tone row in “A Trumpet.” However, the remainder of the excerpt does not corroborate this, and Graettinger’s exact working method remains elusive.

    The recording of “Some Saxophones” reveals & very imaginative composition, the only weak moment being the ending, a unison 5 1, perhaps an attempt at humor. It is a pale moment among many that are totally absorbing.

    Example 11. “Some Saxophones,” m. 1-8 (facsimile; transposed)

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    III. ‘‘A Cello”
    Instrumentation: Five saxophones: alto (double flute), alto (oboe), tenor (English horn), tenor (bassoon), baritone (bass clarinet), three French horns, cello, bass, drums.
    Duration: approximately 4:55.

    “A Cello,” written for soloist Gregory Bemko, is the longest movement of This Modern World, and is perhaps the weakest. The material itself is uneven in quality, and the relationship between solo and accompaniment is less satisfactory than that of “A Horn,” the two elements frequently seeming forced upon one another, rather than organically matched.

    The organization of “A Cello” is similar to· “A Horn” (and also “A Trumpet”) in that the opening section is “classically”-oriented, while the second is in jazz style. The closing is varied among the three compositions, however. The piece opens with two brief cello cadenzas, each preceded by tense ensemble chords. Both cadenzas consist of six seven-note sequences, the first being a pattern, ascending by perfect fourth, and the second adding a triad figure, up by minor second. The “classical” section is slow ( = 80), and may be divided into three sections, according to the design of the solo material. The overall scheme is a gradual descent-ascent, from c2 - c - e2, the low point occurring midway during the second section. The first descends jaggedly by seconds, featuring relationships that could be described as “upper and lower” leading tones. The rhythms are broad, as they are in the second portion, with triplets being introduced in the latter. Also introduced are wider intervals, notably fourths and fifths. The final portion is marked by a return to the upper register, and a return of secundal motives, with hints of the opening. However, the material is more static, consisting of a narrow, twisting motive, repeated. sequentially with various elaborations. The culmination is a trilled e2.

    The background to the foregoing opens with sustained upper register woodwind “triads,” delicately dissonant, the constant interval in each being a major second. The chords descend in an almost-parallel manner, approximating the contour of the solo cello. Small, low register, rhythmic patterns appear, each duplicating the notes of the respective chord. The background for the second and third portions derives from these patterns, being motivic and equally as active.

    Separating the “classical” and jazz sections of the piece are another pair of solo cadenzas, here uninterrupted by the ensemble. A comparison with the introduction reveals similarities in form (six seven-note sequences, down by minor second, and up by perfect fifth, respectively) and pitches (notably, the recurring do re mi patterns), though the exact material is diverse.

    The jazz section does not divide as conveniently as the preceding. The tempo is faster ( = 180), with the solo cadenza eliding into a brief reappearance of the “double leading tone” motive of letter A. After the ensemble enters, the solo becomes more virtuosic, with many fast scalar passages, and a high tessitura maintained for the remainder of the piece. The material consists of brief developments of various motives, with sequence as the principal device. There is an air of improvisation throughout, though, of course, in a “legitimate” context. The background instruments are employed totally as a jazz ensemble, the rhythm section eliding into standard “time,” after an opening passage of irregular patterns. The ensemble emphasizes counter-melodies, with a strong connotation of the “west coast jazz” of the 1950s. Significantly, saxophones are employed. in this section, rather than woodwinds. The section culminates with upper register cello trills, perhaps parallel to the climax of the second cadenza.

    The final section has more the function of a coda than a recapitulation, being comparatively brief, and not reiterating exactly any of the material of A. However, the tempos are identical, and the intricate background motives are at least reminiscent of certain earlier accompaniment figures. Twelve-tone procedures are visible, the cello’s closing lyric material being obviously derived from two different rows (see Example 12). Their relationship is not apparent, likewise the other rows that may be observed. in the background.

    Example 12. “A Cello,” solo, last nine measures

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    IV. “A Thought”
    Instrumentation: Five saxophones: alto (double flute), alto, tenor (oboe/English horn), tenor (clarinet/bassoon), baritone, one French horn.
    Duration: approximately 4:45.

    “A Thought” recalls the last movement of City of Glass in its “classical” implications, being without jazz inflections, and featuring the woodwinds of the ensemble. The basic styles are dissimilar, however, the melodic construction of the later composition being much more angular and terse, with the clear textures associated with chamber music. The tempo implied is allegro, meter probably 4/4.

    “A Thought” seems to be formally tripartite, the divisions a result of shifts in woodwind instrumentation. The piece opens with French horn, alto and baritone saxophones, flute, oboe, and clarinet, but the latter two are replaced by English horn and bassoon, respectively, for the second section. The final portion is totally saxophones and French horn. It is curious that Graettinger did not employ the standard woodwind quintet make-up as an additional resource, as this was at his disposal.

    The first section opens with a nine-note-row note thane, at least the “head” of which is imitated prominently throughout. The technique is the familiar motivic counterpoint, generally busy, with two characteristics positively associated with later Graettinger works: greater harmonic interest, and more use of cadences, phrase goals, etc. The second section is thinner in texture, with broader and less angular melodic material. The texture remains contrapuntal, but often with only two voices. Of special interest is a passage which offsets the alto sax/English horn and baritone sax/bassoon in two-voice counterpoint, the respective pairs having occasional slight differences, resulting in imaginative “chasing” effects. The section ends with a baritone sax ostinato (nine notes, a rough inversion of the opening row), The final section is reminiscent of “Some Saxophones,” but even more of the saxophone segment of “The Structures” (City of Glass), because of the aggressiveness of the material. The ending is a sustained “dissonant seventh” above d (i.e., both c [Horn] and c [sax] are present), with the c fading, exposing the c, heretofore a prominent Horn note.

    “A Thought” is frequently reminiscent of middle-period Stravinsky, specifically Symphonies of Wind Instruments.

    V. “A Trumpet”
    Instrumentations: Standard (i. e., pre- and post-”Innovations” orchestra; N. B.1 The discography lists two Horns, but their parts are not among those surviving, and they are not discernable on the recording.)
    Duration: approximately 4:40.

    As previously noted, “A Trumpet” is probably the most outstanding segment of This Modern World, and is perhaps Graettinger’s finest accomplishment, at least among his recorded works. Written for Maynard Ferguson, the content is the height of compositional imagination, the accompaniment approaching the solo in terms of virtuosity. The two elements are totally integrated, in contrast with the previous solo movements. Perhaps the only weakness is a puzzling marchlike drum figure that intrudes on two occasions in the first section. Otherwise, the music throughout is totally fascinating. As noted earlier, a score has been reconstructed from the parts, and a complete copy is included in Appendix III.

    Of unique interest are the circumstances under which “A Trumpet” was conceived. Willie Maiden, the saxist/arranger long associated with both Maynard Ferguson and Kenton, relates that the content of the solo part was substantially based on Ferguson’s warm-up patterns, Graettinger having observed these while traveling with Kenton’s band. Maiden explains:

    Maynard said that Bob used to hang around…the band,…and, when he thought of doing…“A Trumpet,” he wrote what he had learned. from hearing Maynard not only play the other stuff in the band, but…what he played just when he was fooling around, warming up, that kind of thing. He wrote that down and incorporated it in it! And Maynard told me this, that Bob had told him that he had done that, and he said it felt so natural, because those are the things that he was used to playing—he had played them in every dressing room around the country…which is a psych-out of Bob Graettinger…if we’re going to do something for Maynard, OK, let’s do a Maynard, let’s not do just “a trumpet,” let’s do a thing that’s just for this one particular person who plays this way, and this is part of him.65

    One of the most striking moments of “A Trumpet” is an upper register solo scale, set against a sustained ensemble chord (letter J: see Appendix III, p. 104).

    It could be assumed that the scale (G major, with added subtonic) was actually practiced by Ferguson, an assumption confirmed by Maiden:

    That’s right. He used to do it [the scale] in the dressing room, I heard him do it…I’ve heard him do it since then many times. It’s an exercise that Maynard used to use to warm up…He played certain kind of things to get his chops together, and that was one of them, that scale, and it’s in the piece.66

    One cannot help wondering if Ferguson also warmed up by sustaining “double c’s,” with a decrescendo, as this is his final. feat in “A Trumpet.” This, perhaps, is not too incredulous, considering another recollection of Maiden’s, that Graettinger once wrote a sustained “double d” for Ferguson, marked ppp, “no attack.”

    Concerning the composition itself, the form of “A Trumpet” is similar to the previous solo movements, in that a slow, more “legitimate” opening is succeeded by a fast jazz section. However, there is no return to the opening element, and the attitude throughout is one of jazz, including the only improvised solo of Graettinger’s mature music. The piece opens with a sustained trumpet g2, with the ensemble compiling a dissonant chord in pyramid fashion. There are ten different notes, suggesting the formation of a row, and, indeed, the first nine (see p. 96) are the pitch basis for a substantial amount of subsequent melodic material. The g2 is sustained for nine measures, after which the trumpet gradually ascends, the small twisting motives being totally scalar, based on f pure minor. A plateau is reached at letter B, and thereafter the character changes, much of the broad, angular material being derived from the opening row (see pp, 98-102). If the intervening notes are also row-derived, the source is inexplicable. It is possible that Graettinger employed multiple systems, but it seems likelier that these fragments, as well as much of the remainder of the piece, were freely conceived.

    Serial procedures may also be observed in other instances, for example, the saxophone background to the ascending trumpet at letter A (see p. 97). For the first nine pitches, the alto I/tenor II and alto II/tenor I share the same notes, respectively, but with rhythms shared between the altos and tenors, respectively. The following eighteen pitches may be divided into two groups of nine, in each of which the altos and tenors, respectively, are of each other, and continue the preceding rhythmic principle. The succeeding background material is similar, being generally the dense motivic activity associated with Graettinger, with some apparent serialism. One notable exception is letter D, which features pairs of “nine-tone” brass chords, and an isorhythmic saxophone motive employing the characteristic quarter note triplets. Here, the underlying march-like rhythmic scheme is effective.

    After a brief respite, there is a brilliant ensemble interlude (letter I), featuring quarter note triplet activity in the brass. This is suddenly interrupted by the aforementioned scale passage, after which the interlude resumes, with the triplets transferred to saxophones. Another interruption signals the conclusion of the opening section, with a brilliant altissimo trumpet “call” (letter L, p.106).

    The fast jazz section is introduced by the trumpets, with upper register, grating tone-row material, quickly eliding into a lengthy quarter note passage which descends gradually into the saxophones. Though obscured by the constant crisscrossing of voices, each quarter note chord is merely one of several major triads. Repeated throughout is an oblique dominant-tonic motive in saxophones and trombones, on B.

    The rhythm section enters at letter P, which is the beginning of the improvised trumpet solo, the very fast tempo being that established by the earlier trumpet “call.” The chord “changes” are in traditional thirty-two bar form (a ab a), though not suggesting any standard tune (see mm. 117-148, pp.110-114). The background techniques consist of both counter-melodies and sustained chordal figures, the former being strongly reminiscent of Bill Holman, The B tonic-dominant motives continue briefly, being strangely discrepant with the background harmony.

    As the solo progresses, the background becomes gradually more complex until, at approximately measure 167, there is no longer any trace of the chord progressions, the soloist improvising freely. “Nine-tone” brass chords appear, and become the dominant background device as the piece approaches its climax. The saxophones are completely independent, consisting of various wandering figures, many of a scalar basis. The culmination is what must be one of the most stunning endings ever conceived, a sustained quartal ensemble chord (letter [E, p. 121), the uppermost note of which is the solo trumpet’s ‘‘double c.” The chord gradually dissipates into a major triad, the trumpet’s c emerging as the fifth. Only the saxophones and trumpet remain at the end, and there is a final decrescendo, including, amazingly, the trumpet.

    VI. “An Orchestra”
    Instrumentation: Standard, plus two Horns.
    Duration: approximately 4:00.

    Of all the movements of This Modern World, “An Orchestra” most resembles City of Glass. Its reliance on cacophony, predominantly athematic and atonal textures, and orchestrational features suggest the earlier style. Also, the relative lack of imagination could indicate a reversion to earlier habits.

    “An Orchestra” is roughly tripartite, with the familiar arrangement of “classical”-jazz-“classical.” The opening, an angular, flourishing trumpet solo introduced by a sustained. ensemble major triad, is especially weak, having the connotation of a “show” introduction, complete with drum roll, saxophone trills, etc. Thereafter, the first section, in moderate tempo, presents a succession of sustained., dissonant textures, the dynamism recalling “Some Saxophones,” though much more active.

    The second section intrudes on the first by means of the sudden appearance of a trombone ground theme and the addition of the drums, the latter with fast “time,” though never joined by the bass. The crux of the section is the ground theme, which is repeated numerously with various motives, counterpoint, etc., gradually added. The texture becomes somewhat complex, and, after a brief break, approaches cacophony, as the now altered ground motive ascends into the trombones’ upper register. The melodic motion initiated by the ground ascent is assumed by the trumpets, and culminates in a sudden reappearance of the opening, flourishing trumpet solo. Thereafter, the loud, cacophonous ensemble, reminiscent of the first section, is climactic, perhaps intended as such for the entire piece. The textures gradually evaporate, culminating in another of Graettinger’s peculiarly “proper” endings, a simple, sustained major third, in saxophones.

    The recording of This Modern World failed to attract the critical attention of its predecessor, one indication being the apparent absence of a review in Metronome. Among the plausible reasons would be the relatively brief interim between the release of the two works, the critics and public possibly still absorbing the earlier. Also, City of Glass was no doubt better known due to its having received public performances, (though limited) in both the “Progressive Jazz” and “Innovations” tours. This Modern World’s non-programmatic basis possibly made it less attractive, and it could be surmised that the later work was promoted less by Capitol, appearing at the end of Kenton’s experimental “Innovations” period.

    Down Beat’s review was generally critical (“three stars”), Nat Hentoff commenting:

    The music itself is an unintentionally amusing throwback to the muddled ethos of late 19th century European romanticism—the kind of heavy, humorless fifth-hand idea patterns that Debussy, Satie, Les Six, and Stravinsky, among many others, rebelled against. Schoenberg broke through this kind of pomposity to build his duodecaphonic system, and other composers in their own eclectic manner, created their own way into the 20th century.

    But Graettinger, though he has picked at a few contemporary techniques and “uses mathematical computations in his work” is still spiritually a melodramatic Wagnerian. The fact that he uses jazz instrumental timbres (and an occasional tentative jazz rhythmic bass) makes him no more “modern” than if he mixed in some of Pierre Schaeffer’s electronic music. There is no organic life in this; it is a series of postures aimed at producing effect for effect’s sake.

    …this is progressive only if you’re listening backwards. Graettinger does have a gift for creating expressive orchestral colorations. He would do well to concentrate less on the logarithms of music and more on musical devices as a means to communication, not as an end in themselves.67

    Graettinger received an odd compliment from the reviewer in Disgues:

    For the first time we hear saxophones incorporated into the symphonic orchestra without our ear having to suffer from it. Transplanted among the strings, the sonority adopted by the contemporary jazz men comes across infinitely more satisfying than the timbre, which is too pretty, too “violoncello-like,” sought after by the French saxophonists. For this reason, the experience is conclusive: the saxophone may have “citizen rights” in the modern orchestra. We will be led to believe that, until now, it was making an intrusion.68

    Apparently, Bob Graettinger composed a sequel to This Modern World, as his discography (see Appendix II) lists a four-part recording in September, 1954. Though under the auspices of Capitol, the session never produced a commercial album. It would be logical to assume a link with four of Graettinger’s extant untitled scores, except for the discrepancy of two Horn parts (see Appendix I). Peter Venudor refers to this work in passing when he mentions “Bob Graettinger’s 1954 unknown recorded pieces.”69

  • 8. Techniques

    8. Techniques

    A study devoted to Robert Graettinger would hopefully include a definitive explanation of his unique working methods. However, the amount of scores, graphs, and ambient material. is voluminous, and the necessary exhaustive analysis proved to be beyond the scope of the current inquiry. The material is currently restricted to Stan Kenton’s office, and its long-term availability is, of course, requisite for a prolonged, systematic investigation. Ideally, an independent archives would be established.

    In regard to the graphs, there is a staggering amount, encompassing various sizes, varying degrees of complexity, and apparently various systems. They are currently hopelessly jumbled, with very few identified as to composition. Compounding the problem is Graettinger’s bothersome habit of using ‘both sides of the graph paper for different pieces, and, while working on one, completely disregarding the continuity of the reverse sides.

    Stan Kenton and Willie Maiden both emphasized that Graettinger acquired his graph technique from Russ Garcia, an invaluable clue, except that communication with Garcia is currently somewhat awkward due to his residency in New Zealand. However, he did confirm the fact by letter, explaining that the horizontal. axis represented time, the vertical, pitch, and mentioning the use of colors.70 (Stan Kenton recalled one color code as beings blue = saxophones, red = trumpets, amber = trombones71). This would seem to be a simple representational system, perhaps related to Schillinger’s use of graphs. Though a portion of Graettinger’s conform, the majority do not (see Example 13) and their meaning remains puzzling.

    Example 13.
    Examples of Robert Graettinger’ s graphs.
    [The black and white examples of the graphs from the original document are not included here.] Full color examples of Graettinger’s graphs

    Of the following diverse samples, only the first is positively identified, being a graphic representation of the opening of the Suite for String Trio and Wind Quartet, “Part I” (cf. p. 80). The color indications were added by a Creative World, Inc., staff member. The other remarks are Graettinger’s.

    Stan Kenton recalls that one of Graettinger’s prime reasons for employing graphs was to comprehend more conveniently long spans of music, without reference to cumbersome score pages, fine print, etc, Both Russ Garcia and Dave Robertson emphasized that Graettinger’s graphs were not exactly precompositional, but entered the process after a certain amount of raw material was conceived, Garcia explains, also supplying other details:

    Taught him for two years…contemporary composition techniques, plus counterpoint, form, harmony, orchestration. We went through the whole bit…He would write in conventional music notation, then on a graph in colors, and change the music to suit his eye and ear and then do the final.72

    Yea I taught Bob about graphs…and (more important) about writing in “rhythmic curves” and about what we called “painting a score” and every other musical device that I knew.

    He would rough sketch, thinking in rhythmic curves, and then put it on a color graph, and then his final scoring—I think most of [Graettinger’s recorded works] were graphed (except Thermopolae—I don’t think was).73

    Garcia’s concepts of “rhythmic curves” and “painting a score” are explained in his book, The Professional Arranger Composer:

    Rhythmic Curves

    This wonderful way of writing is an art in itself…You must think first rhythmically then melodically. It is wise at first to just write general rhythmic curves, not actual notes with tonalities,


    My Image

    Once you have a general rhythmic curve it is easy to find notes and harmonies that are natural to it.

    Writing rhythmic curves will speed your composing and arranging and help you keep the picture of the whole composition or arrangement in your mind which is all important. It is similar to an artist sketching his picture before going back to put in all the details. Or as an author outlining the plot of his story before he writes it in detail.

    Writing Mass Motion

    This is writing rhythmic curves with masses of sound. Contrast in the direction of each mass is essential. This system of writing is often referred to as “painting a score.” A curved or jagged line on the score page in one color a counter line or two against it in a contrasting or similar color.74

    Garcia also presents one example of a graph (p. 146), the technique being purely representational, identical to that noted above. He doesn’t elaborate on the advantages of graphing, i.e., procedure for evaluation or manipulation of material, once graphed.

    Carol Easton refers prominently to the City of Glass graphs, her comments containing an important discrepancy. In one instance, she infers that Clinton Roemer transcribed the graphs into conventional notation (“When copyist Clinton Romer [sic] transposed the music [i.e. graphs] to score paper…“75), and in another, that there were no conventional scores (Capitol Records producer Lee Gillette: “The engineer and I had a rough time with the scores because of that graph system Graettinger used”76). The latter is of course disproved by the fact of the first movement score fragments, and Roemer refutes both points:

    Anything of Bob’s was copied directly from a complete score. I doubt if anyone understood the system well have made a direct transcription of parts from his graphs—I wouldn’t have even been willing to have tried.77

    Anyone studying the Graettinger graphs will encounter the interesting distraction of numerous self-addressed messages, some technical. memoranda, others more routine. A sampling:












    Graettinger’s few public pronouncements concerning his music were of the vague, “public relations” variety, and therefore included few technical revelations. In the Merrilyn Hammond interview cited in Chapter IV, he is quoted at length.

    “If I had. to tag any ‘ism’ on my music, I would probably say it was evolutionism. I’ve never had a technique to execute my ideas. I work from the idea, and have acquainted myself with the physical layers of sound. I use a different technique for every idea. I feel a lot of music is written by composers as a result of technique. With me it’s the other way around. I want the music to be the result of my idea.

    “I am not trying to set any rules. I’ve never studied music formally but I’ve listened all the time and read and am aware of what has come before me. I can’t deliberately devote any thought to success. I’m very concerned with my audiences but only to assure me that I’m a complete human being…

    “I can’t think of writing music in conjunction with any other art, though I like to attend the ballet and opera and I get a spontaneous thrill out of popular singers and jazz combos.”78

    The City of Glass/This Modern World record jacket contains an additional quote, “The way I hear music is in a series of constantly changing tensions. What I hear isn’t individual melodies or harmonies, but something more like abstract shapes in motion—physical things passing through time.”

    Perhaps providing more insight are the observations of others who have had some association with Graettinger’s music. Composer Harold Budd devoted six weeks “on and off” to a study of the materials, and concluded:

    I personally don’t think that there was a “system” to be decoded, and insofar as there were the makings of something resembling a formal system, it was not a rigorous one—but everything looks like there was one…I was also interested, of course, in his color-coded graphs; I was curious to determine if he had, in fact, pre-dated Feldman in his use of such, but it is quite clear that his graphs were translated into standard analog notation the players never saw a graph; they were responsible only for 4/4 with triplets as the only “irrational” rhythmic element.79

    Budd further recalls a friend of Graettinger (probably Forrest Westbrook) relating that Bartok was Graettinger’s “favorite composer.”

    David Robertson offered the following recollections of Graettinger’s technical procedures:

    Bob used and understood considerable in the way of Schillinger devices, but was never a whole-hogger. Which is to say, if they could serve his ends, he applied them, and if not, he went some other way.

    He was also aware of, and used, to some extent, twelve tone. I can’t remember where this came from…a number of us at Westlake at that time…were exploring twelve-tone. Russ Garcia may have brought it up, or it might have been I. Lot of people carrying the little Ernst Krenek manual around. And I remember talking over the Maury Deutsch pamphlets with him. These were Schillinger-ish in content.

    He was highly preoccupied with control of texture—particularly in terms of the avoidance of unfortunate “let-downs” in his works. The pursuance of this—and for that matter, everything he did—involved a huge amount of preliminary writing and rewriting, in order to explore all possibilities and be sure of ending up with the very best. He described. the construction of an extended trumpet-only passage (I think it was in City) which he solved by, 1. writing out the basic line, 2. filling in ALL possible notes which would fulfill his textural requirements, 3. “Free blowing” his way through the possibilities he had filled in. The results were marvelously effective.

    …Bob arrived at his nuclear materials by ear, and spent a lot of time at the piano, both for this, and, insofar as his moderate piano skill would allow, to prove out his orchestration.

    Likewise, the broad shapes and dramatic flow of his works were arrived at intuitively. So that, having arrived, through the above processes, at the shape of an “empty” composition (whose empty places, however, were tagged with distinct requirements) he would set about filling them in, using whatever devices would serve his needs…

    So Bob used some Schillinger devices, but, more important, he picked up—probably already had, to some extent—Schillinger’s way of approaching problems, and often, when he was not using out-and-out Schillinger, was using pseudo Schillinger.

    I think I mentioned before that Bob had a bad ear, in the conventional sense (this I know from his performance in ear training classes, which was below the median). Which makes him an outstanding example of the fact that a good composer need not demonstrate absolute pitch or high tonal. memory or instantaneous auditory analysis. He got to it all, but he had to do it the hard way. He made no sounds which he did not intend.80

    Carol Easton quotes Art Pepper as recalling one interesting detail of Graettinger’s methods:

    “Graettinger didn’t write just for a band, or for sections, he wrote for each individual person, more or less like Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn did …in order to do this, he spent a long, long time just travelling with the band. We played one-nighters, mostly, and we’d be on the bandstand playing, and he was very tall…and he stood out. All you’d have to do was look out in the crowd and you could see him immediately, even in the balcony! He would just stand and listen to the band. Then on the next set, he’d be in another spot. He would block everything out, if he could, and listen to just one particular person, and get that person’s sound, the way that person played; because even though together it sounds the same, everybody has their own little personal connotations of playing the same thing. He wrote for each person, like as far as the projection of their sound, how the sound carried, what it reminded him of, and he spent months just doing that, just standing and listening to the band.”81

    A final Graettinger quote provides aesthetic insight, if not technical: “I live above the timberline, where nothing grows.82

  • 9. Final Compositions

    9. Final Compositions

    In addition to You Go to My Head, Bob Graettinger is represented in The Kenton Era by the brief (approximately 3:15) composition, Modern Opus. Many assume this to be his final “jazz” effort, but its recording date (March 19, 1952, antedating the recording of all of This Modern World, except “A Horn”) and instrumentation (same as “An Orchestra”) prove otherwise, placing the composition among the sequence of pieces from which This Modem World was drawn. Unfortunately, Modern Opus belongs to the group judged as deficient, as it returns to Graettinger’s wandering, direction-less habit, with little imagination, and a paucity of the isolated moments of interest present in even his mediocre efforts. The overall content seems closer in spirit to City of Glass than This Modern World, with even an occasional hint of the moribund air of Thermopolae.

    Though the original score of Modern Opus is missing, the parts remain, and a score has been reconstructed. The opening page (see Example 14) suggests the presence of a seven-tone row, though, again, efforts to discover the process were frustrated. The piece is totally atonal, athematic, and through-composed, consisting primarily of Graettinger’s familiar elaborate counterpoint. The only consistent thread is a repeated bb occurring either as a sustained pedal (e.g., Horns, mm. 7-15, triplets, mm. 24, bass trombone, mm. 38-43), or rhythmic figure (e.g., string bass octave ostinato, mm. 47-68), but is present in some form throughout most of the piece. The closing E♭ major chord perhaps qualifies the earlier “atonal” description, suggesting an underlying prolonged V – I in E♭.

    Modern Opus is entirely slow (= ca, 92), in 4/4. After a brief saxophone introduction, the broad division seems tripartite, the sections made apparent by shifts in timbral emphasis. The saxophones embellish the first bb pedal (Horns, guitar), and thus comprise the first section (mm. 7-24). The texture is almost totally contrapuntal, and does not at all suggest “Some Saxophones,” as might be assumed, but rather the meandering saxophone background of “A Trumpet.” This section is balanced by the third (mm. 47-63), in which the brass are the primary decoration of the pedal (guitar and bass). The intervening section (mm, 25-46) is in the nature of a bridge, featuring a Horn duet (mm. 30-37), and the ensemble. The latter’s dragging nine-tone chords (mm. 38-43) are very effective, though the “swinging” double-time passage (mm. 44-46) seems trite.

    The rhythm section is active throughout, the bass with many intricate pizzicato improvisation-like figures, and the drums with quasi-“time.” The piece closes with a brief coda (mm. 64-68), consisting of’ two phrases of wandering saxophone chords in strict sixteenth notes, with the bass/guitar bb ostinato continuing. The final sonority, a sudden E♭ major 9, is another of Graettinger’s odd endings, seeming an artificially proper conclusion to an atypical piece.

    Modern Opus, like You Go to My Head, was mostly lost among the over forty items in The Kenton Era, In the review cited in Chapter III, George Simon did acknowledge the piece, describing it as “full of dissonances,” and noting that Graettinger had “penned far better things than these two here.”83

    Robert Graettinger’s last composition was the Suite for String Trio and Wind Quartet, the instrumentation being flute, oboe, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, and cello. According to a close friend, Forrest Westbrook, the piece consumed Graettinger’s interests for the last four years of’ his life,84 Westbrook further recalling to Carol Easton that Graettinger “felt that for the first time he was really getting things down the way he wanted them.”85 Kenton recalls that Graettinger, though very ill, worked frantically during the last months of his life, laboring on the piece for six or seven hours at a time, otherwise remaining in bed.86

    Graettinger completed only the first three movements of the septet, the fourth remaining in graph form. The scores and a substantial number of graphs remain in Stan Kenton’s office, and, for approximately one year after Graettinger’s death, Forrest Westbrook attempted to “realize” the fourth movement graph, the latter being of the purely representational type. Except for the ending, he succeeded, also supplying dynamics, phrasing, filling in the occasional gape, etc. Westbrook made at least one attempt, unsuccessful, to have the piece performed, though his arrangements for a taping were successful. Unfortunately, the recording has been misplaced in the intervening years. Harold Budd recalls hearing the tape, his impression being that the music “was very disappointing pseudo-Bartok stuff…pretentious even; a bad piece.”87 The reference to Bartok is not surprising, recalling this being Graettinger’s “favorite composer.”

    Concerning the Suite itself, an analysis is not included herein, as the length is so substantial as to require a separate study. “Part I” comprises 198 measures (4/4, = 152-160), “Part II,” 96 measures (4/4, = 80-84), and “Part III,” approximately 225 measures (4/4, = 126-132). The fourth movement, i.e., Westbrook’s manuscript, consumes some fifty-five score pages. Each movement opens with row-like material (see Example 1.5), but initial efforts to reveal a system were again thwarted. It is interesting to note that the first three movements all begin with the note d, and that the first two also end with d1 (Horn), preceded by an identical chord (see Example 16).

  • 10. Conclusion

    10. Conclusion

    Robert Graettinger died on March 12, 1957, in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, a victim of cancer. He had been stricken in the groin the previous Thanksgiving, and had undergone surgery. The procedure was unsuccessful, however, as the malignancy had spread to his lungs by February. Funeral services were held at Christ Episcopal Church, Ontario, with Stan Kenton and Pete Rugolo the only musicians in attendance.

    Graettinger was survived by his parents and brother, John. His parents had moved to Palm Springs in 1941, Mr. Graettinger being editor of the Palm Springs Desert Sun from that date until his death in 1965. Mrs. Graettinger subsequently returned to Ontario, and married a prominent judge, Archie D. Mitchell. John Graettinger attended Harvard from 1940 to 1946, received his M.D., and is currently Dean of Student and Faculty Affairs, Rush University, Chicago.

    If portions of Robert Graettinger’s earlier life are accurately described as secluded, his last years were especially so. He apparently was consumed with composing the septet, and became more and more divorced from the mainstream of jazz activities, one indication being the apparent absence of a death notice in both Down Beat and Metronome. A friend from high school, Charles Hall, reports seeing Graettinger occasionally during the last year of his life. Hall, a trumpet player, was half-owner of a Hollywood club, the Mardi Gras, and recalls Graettinger coming in periodically for gratis food, drinks, etc. Graettinger had no car, and Hall also recalls providing him with occasional transportation. Graettinger usually came to the club during the day, Hall being under the impression that he composed all night.88 Max Cramer played at the Mardi Gras during this period, and also recalls seeing Graettinger there. He relates:

    I went to his room after the job one evening for a brief moment, having taken him home. He had rented a garage in which there was an upright piano, and a mattress on the floor with a small bathroom. He was entirely obsessed with his music and began to play mightily at the keyboard.89

    In formulating an overall assessment of Robert Graettinger’s contribution, it would be tempting to underestimate his accomplishments, due to the small number of truly meaningful works produced (specifically, the last movement of City of Glass, and “Some Saxophones,” “A Thought,” and “A Trumpet” from This Modern World). However, when considering his relatively limited output, his percentage of success was probably not that different from many “recognized” composers, and, of course, a composer should receive his due for writing even one “meaningful” work. It is clear that Robert Graettinger deserves much credit, for evolving a forceful, personal style, and for being one of a very few composers to attempt the “classical”/jazz duality, and to show true insight into both arts. At its best, his style is essentially “legitimate,” but with the vibrancy, intensity, and sheer timbral joy associated with jazz. Like all composers, Graettinger experienced growing pains, though for him the experience was often public instead of private, because of his early exposure through Stan Kenton. In his most significant compositions, the growth process showed many signs of reaching full maturity, and, as noted earlier, it is tragic that this process was halted so early, in his thirty-third year.

    To quote Willie Maiden, “I wish we could hear more.”

  • Appendix I – List of compositions and arrangements

    Appendix I – List of compositions and arrangements

    This compilation is a result of the author’s own research in the Creative World, Inc., office, and from information provided by Kenton historian Michael Sparke, Hounslow, Middlesex, England. Sparke was especially helpful in providing most of the approximate dates, which he determined by the occasional indications of band personnel on the scores, and/or from entries in copyist Clinton Roemer’s files, assuming that the dates of writing and copying were not too far removed.

    The scores and parts [marked X] are currently housed in the offices of Creative World, Inc., 1012 South Robertson Boulevard., Los Angeles, California, 90035. It seems logical to assume that additional music exists somewhere, though the contributors to this project expressed no further knowledge.

    In addition to the listed materials, there are several score scraps, currently not identified. “Standard instrumentation” refers to the usual Kenton make-up of five trumpets, five trombones, five saxophones, and four rhythm.

    [S/P/R = Score / Parts / Recording]








    S P R

    April in Paris


    late 1947 or early 1948


    I'm in the Mood for Love


    late 1947 or early 1948




    late 1947 or early 1948


    Untitled original


    late 1947 or early 1948


    City of Glass (original version)


    before February 1948


    Autumn in New York


    1947 or 1948


    The Beachcomber


    1947 or 1948


    Untitled original

    Standard, plus Latin percussion

    1947 or early 1948


    Untitled original (incomplete)

    Standard, plus Latin percussion

    1947 or early 1948


    Too Marvelous for Words

    Standard, plus vocal (June Christy)

    ca. March 1948




    May 1948


    I Only Have Eyes for You


    after April 1948




    after April 1948


    You Go To My Head


    after April 1948

    S P R

    Lover Man

    Standard, plus vocal (June Christy)

    after April 1948


    Irresistible You


    June 1948


    Everything Happens to Me

    See Discography

    September 1948


    Fine and Dandy

    Standard, plus vocal (June Christy)

    September 1948

    April in Paris

    Standard, plus Horn, tuba, strings, harp, woodwinds instead of saxophones

    May 1949


    Incident in Jazz


    October 1949

    P91 R

    Untitled composition in two movements

    String chamber orchestra

    January 1950


    Untitled original


    May 1950


    House of Strings

    String orchestra

    May 1950 ?


    Untitled original


    ca. September 1950


    Untitled composition

    String quartet and flute

    March 1951 ?


    City of Glass, I, II


    July 1951

    S92 R

    City of Glass, III


    August 1951


    City of Glass, IV


    September 1951


    “A Horn”


    September 1951

    P93 R

    “A Cello”

    See Discography

    January 1952

    S R

    Untitled original

    Standard, plus two horns

    January - June 1952


    Untitled original

    Standard, plus two horns

    January - June 1952


    Untitled original

    Standard, plus two horns

    January - June 1952


    Untitled original (incomplete)

    Standard, plus two horns

    January - June 1952


    Modern Opus

    Standard, plus two horns

    March 1952 ?

    S94 P R

    “Some Saxophones”


    April 1952

    S95 R

    “A Trumpet”


    December 1952

    S96 P R

    “An Orchestra”


    February 1953

    P R

    “A Thought”

    See Discography

    February 1953



    String trio and wind quartet

    May 1953 ? - 1957


  • Appendix II – Discography

    Appendix II – Discography

    The bulk of the Graettinger/Kenton discographical information was provided by Kenton historian Peter Venudor, Amsterdam, Holland, while the June Christy/Bob Cooper data. was supplied by Michael Sparke, Hounslow, Middlesex, England. Included are dates, locations, complete personnel, and release numbers of all Graettinger commercial recordings. Stan Kenton’s albums have been rereleased on Kenton’s Creative World label, and are available in some record stores, or from Creative World, Inc., P.O. Box 35216, Los Angeles, California, 90035.

    Saxophones are listed throughout in the order of alto, alto, tenor, tenor, baritone; rhythm in the order of piano, guitar, bass, drums,

    Thermopolae LINK
    Recorded December 1947, RKO-Pathe Studios, New York, New York
    Original release: Capitol 15052 (“78”). Included in album, A Concert in Progressive Jazz (Capitol T-1721 Creative World ST-1037).
    Trumpets Buddy Childers, Ray Wetzel, Al Porcino, Chico Alvarez, Ken Hanna
    Trombones Milton Bernhart, Harry Betts, Eddie Bert, Harry Forbes, Bart Varsalona
    Saxophones George Weidler, Art Pepper, Bob Cooper, Warner Weidler, Bob Gioga
    Rhythm Stan Kenton, Laurindo Almeida, Eddie Safranski, Shelly Manne

    Everything Happens to Me (arranged. by Robert Graettinger) LINK
    Recorded March 25, 1949, Hollywood, California
    Original release: Capitol 57-578 (“78”).

    Bob Cooper Orchestra June Christy (vocal), Buddy Childers (trumpet), Johnny Mandel (bass trumpet), Billy Byers (trombone), Art Pepper (alto sax), Bob Cooper (tenor sax), Irving Roth (baritone sax), Jasper Hornyak (Violin), Cesare Pascarella (cello), Hal Schaefer (piano), Joe Mondragon (bass), Don Lamond (drums), Louis Martinez (conga).

    Incident in Jazz LINK
    Recorded February 4, 1950, Capitol Studios, Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California.
    Included in album, Innovations in Modern Music (Capitol W-189; Creative World ST-1037).

    Trumpets Buddy Childers, Maynard Ferguson, Shorty Rogers, Chico Alvarez, Don Paladino
    Trombones Milton Bernhart, Bill Russo, Harry Betts, Bob Fitzpatrick, Bart Varsalona
    French horns John Graas, Lloyd Otto; tuba, Gene England
    Saxophones Bud Shank, Art Pepper, Bob Cooper, Bart Caldarell, Bob Gioga
    Violins: George Kast, Lewis Elias, Earl Cornwell, Alex Law, Carl Ottobrino, James Holmes, James Cathcart, Dave Schackne, Herb Offner, Anthony Doria
    Violas Stanley Harris, Leonard Selic, Samuel Singer
    Cello Gregory Bemko, Jack Wulfe, Zachary Bock
    Rhythm Stan Kenton, Laurindo Almeida, Don Bagley, Shelly Manne, Carlos Vidal (conga)

    House of Strings LINK
    Recorded August 24, 1950, Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California.
    Included in album, Kenton Presents (Capitol T-248; Creative World ST-1023).

    Violins George Kast, Lewis Elas, Earl Cornwell, Alex Law, Carl Ottobrino, James Holmes, James Cathcart, Dave Schackne, Herb Offner, Anthony Doria
    Violas Stanley Harris, Leonard Selic, Samuel Singer
    Celli Gregory Bemko, Mary Jane Gillan, Zachary Bock
    Bass Don Bagley

    City of Glass LINK LINK LINK LINK
    Recorded December 5 and 7, 1951, Capitol Studios, Hollywood,
    California. Original release, Capitol H-353 (ten-inch LP). Included in album, City of Glass/This Modern World (Capitol V-736; Creative World ST-1006).

    Trumpets John Howell, Maynard Ferguson, Conte Candoli, John Cappola, Stu Williamson
    Trombones Bob Fitzpatrick, Harry Betts, Bill Russo, Dick Kenney, George Roberts
    French horns John Graas, Lloyd Otto, George Prices tuba, Stan Fletcher
    Saxophones Bud Shank (also flute), Art Pepper (also clarinet), Bob Cooper (also oboe, English horn), Bart Caldarell (also bassoon), Bob Gioga (also bass clarinet)
    Violins Alex Law, Danny Napolitano, Earl Cornwell, Barton Gray, Bill Wright, Dwight Numa, Charlie Searle, Seb Mercurio, Phil Davidson, Maurice Koukel, Ben Zimberoff
    Violas Dave Smiley, Paul Israel, Aaron Shapiro
    Celli Gregory Bemko, Zachary Bock, Mary Jane Gillan
    Bass Abe Luboff
    Rhythm Stan Kenton, Ralph Blaze, Don Bagley, Shelly Manne

    This Modern World
    Recorded various dates (see below), Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California.
    Original releases Capitol H-460 (ten-inch LP). Included in album, City of Glass/This Modern World (Capitol W-736) Creative World ST-1006).

    I. “A Horn” LINK
    Recorded December 5, 1951.
    Personnel same as City of Glass.

    II. “Some Saxophones” LINK
    Recorded May 28, 19.53.
    Saxophones Bud Shank, Herb Geller, Bob Cooper, Bart Caldarell, John Rotella

    III. “A Cello” LINK
    Recorded March 20, 1952.
    Cello Gregory Bemko
    French horns John Graas, Lloyd Otto, Fred Fox
    Saxophones Bud Shank (alto flute), Lennie Niehaus (also oboe), Bob Cooper (also English horn), Bart Caldarell (also bassoon), Bob Gioga (also bass clarinet)
    Rhythm Don Bagley (bass), Frank Capp (drums)

    IV. “A Thought” LINK
    Recorded. May 28, 1953
    French horn John Graas
    Saxophones Bud Shank (also flute), Herb Geller, Bob Cooper (also oboe/English horn), Bart Caldarell (also clarinet/bassoon), John Rotella

    V. “A Trumpet” LINK
    Recorded February 11, 1953.
    Trumpets Buddy Childers, Maynard Ferguson, Conte Candoli, Don Dennis, Ruben McFall, Pete Candoli
    Trombones Bob Burgess, Bill Russo, Frank Rosolino, Keith Moon, George Roberts
    French horns John Graas, Lloyd Otto
    Saxophones Vinnie Dean, Lee Konitz, Bill Holman, Richard Kamuca, Bob Gioga
    Rhythm Stan Kenton, Sal Salvador, Don Bagley, Stan Levey

    VI. “An Orchestra” LINK
    Recorded February 13, 1953.
    Personnel same as “A Trumpet” except omit Pete Candoli, trumpet.

    Modern Opus LINK
    Recorded March 19, 1952, Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California.
    Included. in album, The Kenton Era (Capitol WDX-569; Creative World ST-1030).

    Trumpets Buddy Childers, Conte Candoli, Clyde Reasinger, Don Dennis, Ruben McFall
    Trombones Bob Fitzpatrick, Bill Russo, John Halliburton, Gerald Finch, George Roberts
    French horns John Graas, Lloyd Otto
    Saxophones Lennie Niehaus, Dick Meldonian, Bill Holman, Lee Elliott, Bob Gioga
    Rhythm Stan Kenton, Ralph Blaze, Don Bagley, Frank Capp

    You Go to My Head (arranged by Robert Graettinger) LINK
    Recorded September 16, 1952, Universal Recorders Studio, Chicago, Illinois.
    Included in album, The Kenton Era (Capitol WDX-569) Creative World ST-1030).

    Personnel same as “An Orchestra” except omit French horn.

    Untitled, unreleased composition(s), in four sections.
    Recorded September 1954, Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California.

    Trumpets, Bob Clark, John Cappola, Herb Pomeroy, Sam Noto, Norman Prentice
    Trombones Bob Fitzpatrick, Frank Rosolino, Kent Larsen, Frank Strong, Norman Bartold
    Tuba Gene Englund
    Saxophones Lennie Niehaus, Charlie Mariano, Bill Holman, Jack Montrose, Boots Mussulli
    Rhythm Stan Kenton, Ralph Blaze, Max Bennett, Mel Lewis

  • Appendix III – A Trumpet, from This Modern World

    Appendix III – A Trumpet, from This Modern World

    The full score to “A Trumpet” was included in the original document but is omitted here for copyright reasons.

  • Bibilography



    Easton, Carol. Straight Ahead. The Story of Stan Kenton. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1973.

    Feather, Leonard. The Book of Jazz. New York: Horizon Press, 1965.

    —. The Encyclopedia of Jazz. New York: Horizon Press, 1955.

    Garcia, Russell. The Professional Arranger Composer. New York: Criterion Music Corporation, 1954.

    Schillinger, Joseph. The Schillinger System of Musical Compositions. New York: Carl Fischer, Inc., 1946,

    Ulanov, Barry. A Handbook of Jazz, New York: The Viking Press, 1959.

    —. A History of Jazz in America. New York: The Viking Press, 1957.

    Wilson, Johns. Jazz, The Transition Years, 1940-1960. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1966,


    Crescendo. London, England.

    Disques. Paris, France.

    Down Beat, Chicago, Illinois.

    Gramophone. Hayes, Middlesex, England.

    Metronome. New York, New York.

    Musical America. New York, New York.

    Music Views, Hollywood., California,

    Orkester Journalen; tidskrift for jazz musik, Stockholm, Sweden.


    Los Angeles Times. Obituary, March 14, 1951.

    The Ontario Daily Report. Obituary, March 13, 1951.

    Unpublished Material

    Astrup, Ole Just. “Bob Graettinger: A Tribute Long Overdue.” Unpublished
    article, Copenhagen, 1971.

    Venudor, Peter. “I Believe in Kentonia.” Unpublished manuscript, Amsterdam, 1957.