News and Features

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"Showcase of New Bands. Kenton Boasts No Horseplay, Much Music." Metronome. August 1941. 23.
Leading a band is serious business for young, new, west coast band leader Stanley Kenton. His fourteen-piece band, Kenton boasts, indulges in no horseplay, avoids all the tricks in the books of show-conscious bandsmen. Instead, he avers, his band will offer music, more music, and then still more music.

Though emphasis in his band is on setting of danceable tempi and keeping people happy on the dance floor, kenton’s crew swings. Out on the coast, Stanley has earned quite a reputation as a pianist and much of the important ad libbing proceeds from his keyboard. Red Dorris on tenor and Jack Ordean on alto saxophone, Chicco [sic] Alvaraez on trumpet and Dick Cole on trombone, are also featured in the plentiful hot choruses allotted solo instruments.

Kenton’s band is sub-titled “Artistry in Rhythm.” Much if that “Artistry” depends upon the sax voicing, which spots a strong baritone. Too, the solos of Dorris and Ordean in this section, are the most individual contributions to almost every arrangement in the books, sweet or hot.

Lots of attention is being paid to the rhythm section, with a great deal of credit for its work going to bassist Howard Rumsey. Al Costi on guitar and Marvin George on drums work together with Kenton to fill out the rhythm.

“Artistry in Rhythm” means, among other things, a full book of special arrangements, with the bulk of these penned by arranger Ralph Yaw, whose orchestration is featured on page 44. Some of these specials feature Kenton, others feature the soloists mentioned above. A goodly number spot Kay Gregory, Stan’s vocalist. Kay’s background has been chiefly with show bands and in radio, and she adds the force of a practiced visual personality to the band. In addition, she has the facility of singing in several languages, including Hawaiian, which is an especially good attraction on the west coast.

Kenton will repeat over and over, if asked, that his band specializes in no particular kind of jazz.”We don’t play dixieland or boogie-woogie,” he says. “We don’t even play rhumbas,” Stan continues, “but we do play a strictly musical jazz, without novelties, with with musical interest and easy to dance to.” Upon these principles, the new California band of new band-leader-pianist Stanley Kenton stands.
"Kenton Records." Metronome. November 1941. 29.
KENTON RECORDS for Decca and the MacGregor Transcription Co. on the west coast. Stan’s talked-about band opens the N.Y. Famous Door in November.
"Stan Kenton Band at Palladium." Metronome. December 1941. 9.
Stan Kenton Band at Palladium after November 25, postponing its New York opening at the Famous Door until January 1. The band goes into the mammoth spot for five weeks, closing on December 28 and flying east to make the Door date. Kay Gregory, convalescing girl singer with the Kenton Krew, rejoins same for the Palladium engagement.—LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
"Kelso for Kenton." Metronome. February 1942. 35.
Kelso For Kenton as road manager. Bill Kelso is known on the west coast as the former all-night record showman, Hank, The Night Watchman. He joins the Stan Kenton band in time for its tour.—Los Angeles, Calif.
"Kenton Makes Changes Back to Coast." Metronome. October 1942. 8.
Kenton Makes Changes, Back to Coast after breaking all records at the Summit, big Baltimore spot. Stan's band, in its second appearance in the Maryland metropolis, established itself as a solid click in these parts. Kenton took back with him a local drummer, Pepper Asner, who won his post in an audition against seven other drummers. Pepper and his father own the Green Villa, night spot right in the center of Baltimore's big war factory area.

Jack Ordean, Kenton's star alto saxist, left the hand just before it completed its stay at the Summit in response to that urgent call from Uncle Sam. Eddie Meyer, of the WBAL studio crew, was a temporary replacement for Ordean.

Another change in the Kenton band was the addition of Dolly Mitchell as girl vocalist. Eighteen-year old Dolly left Paul Whiteman to join Stan in Cleveland on September 11—BALTIMORE, MD.
"Dexter Joins Carlos Gastel." Metronome. January 1943. 9.
Dexter Joins Carlos Gastel in the band managing business. Dave, former trade-paper writer and most recently publicity man for Jimmy Dorsey and Billy Burton, is now a partner with the man who helped Sonny Durham and Stan Kenton start on their ways and who is now bust putting Benny Carter on the West Coast map.

Gastel will handle most of the firm’s business on the West Coast end. Dexter will watch out for the eastern shore.
"Hollywood Periscope. Karl George." Metronome. January 1943. 10.
Karl George, best remembered as the first trumpet sharpie with the old and much-lamented Teddy Wilson big band, is showing just as much on the ball as a member of S. Kenton’s brass team. The guy is stupendous.
"Kenton Gets Measles." Metronome. March 1943. 24.
Stan Kenton broke out with the measles late last month, in the midst of a Midwest tour. The band was temporarily sidetracked—then resumed activity.
"Stan's Loss a Gain." Metronome. September 1943: 8
Hollywood–“I'm losing $50,000 in cold profits by playing on the Bob Hope radio show,” Stan Kenton exclaimed last week. The lanky leader, whose young band has zoomed into terrific popularity within the last few months, pointed out that playing the Hope program for a full year prohibited his band’s playing location jobs. His combo cannot leave Los Angeles and because the group must play the Palladium sometime next year, because of an option, it isn't allowed to play any steady job within 100 miles of Los Angeles.

Kenton figures the sacrifice will be worth it, however, inasmuch as more than 20 million persons listen to the program every Tuesday night. After a year, Kenton thinks he will he in a position to get better money in theaters, ballrooms and hotels coast to coast. Especially with a big Paramount picture to help him along. His band just made a featurette at Universal, too. So all in all, he isn't worried. "I ought to get some laughs on the Hope show, too” reasons Kenton. “You can’t get those out on the road.”
"Personalities in the News. Violet Kenton." Metronome. November 1943. 11.
Violet Kenton, wife of Stan Kenton, recovered from critical illness at their home high atop a Hollywood mountain. Physicians now declare she’s out of danger.
"Bands in the Movies." Metronome. January 1944. 43.
Paramount also is lining up vehicle for Stan Kenton and crew, who have been waiting around several months ready to start. latest information is that Stan and his men, with Dolly Mitchell, will face the cameras “within an few weeks.”
Milton Benny. "Hollywood Periscope." Metronome. February 1944. 8
Howard (Red) Dorris of the Stan Kenton crew is slated to join the military this month in Los Angeles. He handles all the toner sax and much of the vocal solo work within the S.K. band.
"Kenton South; Takes George." Metronome. March 1944: 10
Hopping across the nation in the company of Bob Hope and other entertainers, Stan Kenton's band will undertake its first tour of the South this month, kicking off in Miami on March 6 and playing the Hope NBC program and one-night stands until April 1.

Noteworthy item regarding the Kenton tour is the fact that Karl George, former Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton first trumpet, is making the tour and will play all the one-nighters and Hope shows with Kenton. Thus, Kenton's trek is the first made by a mixed band in many years into the Deep South. Jacksonville, Macon and many another metropolis south of the Mason-Dixon line are scheduled by Kenton,­ with the entire troupe returning to Hollywood about April 1.
"Kenton Loses Appendix." Metronome. April 1944. 13.
MIAMI.—Stan Kenton was reported “virtually recovered” at the Jackson Memorial Hospital, March 20, where for two weeks he has been bedded following an emergency appendectomy. The tall, Kansas-born leader was stricken so suddenly—and severely—that his condition was, for several days, reported as critical by hospital attaches.

With his tour of the Deep South completed this week, the Kenton orchestra with Vocalists Red Dorris and Dolly Mitchell prepared to train back to Hollywood in company of Bob Hope and his troupe. More than 20 military camps were included in the tour, and Kenton’s unit played a string of one-nighters, in addition.

Karl George, Negro trumpeter with the band, made the trip as far East as Oklahoma City and then enjoyed a three-week vacation with his family. He did not appear with the band in the South, as was previously reported.

Kenton's band remains on the Hope NBC program Tuesdays through June, and then heads East again to play theaters, winding up at the Capitol or Paramount in New York in July.
"Anita O'Day to Kenton." Metronome. May 1944: 11
Hollywood.–Anita O'Day has joined Stan Kenton's orchestra as featured vocalist after a year, on her own, working as a single in night clubs and theaters.

The uninhibited-styled former Gene Krupa chanteuse joined the Kenton orchestra April 28. at the Aragon Ballroom in nearby Ocean Park and will be heavily billed as an attraction in her own right. Stan also hired Gene Howard, a baritone. to handle the vocals which Howard (Red) Dorris once sang. Dorris is in the army.

No replacement for Dorris on tenor sax has been made, Kenton indicating he would try out several aspirants for the chair. The band remains on the Bob Hope program until late June and then goes East.
Milton Benny. "Hollywood Periscope. Stan Kenton Will Do His Utmost...." Metronome. May 1944. 14.
Stan Kenton will do his utmost to build Anita O’Day into a top-ranking singing attraction so she can eventually step out on hew own successfully.
"Personalities in the News. Dave Matthews Joins Stan Kenton." Metronome. June 1944. 13.
Dave Matthews joined Stan Kenton as tenor soloist and arranger and will head east with the Kenton crew June 6. So will Anita O’Day and Gene Howard, Kenton’s new singing acquisitions.
"Richards to Roseland." Metronome. June 1944. 26.
HOLLYWOOD.—Johnny Richards and his California band will open in late June or early July at the Roseland Ballroom on New York’s Broadway. Richards, a prominent coast arranger and saxophonist, recently played an engagement at the Casa Manana here. Dottie Reid is making the trip east as vocalist although it is expected that Richards’ wife, Pat Kaye, will rejoin him later at the conclusion of her radio show on NBC.
"Large Bands." Metronome. July 1944. 18.
AFTER a hiatus of almost a decade, California has begun once again to develop its own bands. In the twenties, there were the strictly dance outfits of Gus Arnheim, Jimmie Grier, and the like. In the thirties, Ben Pollack sojourned out on the Coast, and Benny Goodman got his start there, at the old Palomar Ballroom. But the two Benjamins were not real California product. Stan Kenton and Freddie Slack, the King Cole Trio and the hillbilly bands are.

Stan's band, easily the most important of the California outfits, is the first entirely Coast-built organization to command national attention in years. Via Capitol records, the Bob Hope show and sustainings from the Palladium, the Kenton name has created big talk in the East and Midwest. Personal appearances in these regions have implemented the records and radio appearances, but it was really in and out of California that Stan made and is making his name.

Freddie Slack, pianist successively for the Jimmy Dorsey and Will Bradley bands, emigrated to California a couple of years ago and has remained there ever since. His bands have been, until recently, aggregations of local men, at their best when making recordings. Today, with a four-week run at Slapsy Maxie's on Wilshire Boulevard under his belt, with other bookings forthcoming, with some movies made and others contracted for, Freddie seems set as a bandleader. His band doesn't boast any soloist of the stature of Barney Bigard, who was with him last year, but it has a fair library.

Jan Garber is another bandleader who has settled out on the Coast apparently for better rather than worse. When Jan gave up his mickey mouse outfit in favor of a swing band, he chose California to build it He's been East since then, but he's concentrating on California for (a) gold, (b) sympathetic ballroom audiences, (c) possible films.

The films, of course, have drawn all the names out West. Harry James has served notice on the music business that he doesn't want to play anywhere else except under pressure of an old contract. Harry is a big boy in MGM movies now, Mr. Grable besides, and so satisfied with film and phonograph moola that he was willing to jeopardize, then lose his Chesterfield show rather than move around the country. Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, currently at rival ballrooms, the Casino Gardens in Ocean Park and the Palladium in Hollywood, respectively, are Coast settlers now, too. The brothers D. are getting more than an even movie break, command enormous dough for one-nighter, week-end or longer engagements, and can't see the East for lookin’.

These ballrooms are fabulous places. They are several times as large as anything east of California, more like a convention hall than a dance palace. They hold thousands and thousands of people, and they get them all, because they are strewn all over the California countryside. In the Los Angeles area alone there are five major ballrooms. At Ocean Park, LA's Coney Island, adjacent to Santa Monica, there are the Aragon and Casino Gardens, where you will see some of the maddest dancing ever, done by sailors and Okies, servicemen and swingshifters. Out at Southgate, there is Horace Heidt's Trianon, which in its first year netted enough to pay back its purchase price, something around $100,000, which ought to give you an idea of the money in California ballrooms. In Culver City, MGM's home, which looks like a movie set for a two-gun Western (and may originally have been), there is the Casa Mañana, nee Sebastien's Cotton Club, which is nothing more than a ballroom with a larger number of tables for service than usual. Charlie Barnet has just made way for Hal Mcintyre there, though only for Friday, Saturday and Sunday business; gas shortages force the shuttering of the spot the rest of the week. And then there is the palatial Palladium, the huge dancery on Vine near Sunset in Hollywood. This is the location which bands play because it pays. They rope in a minimum of 30,000 customers a week here, some of whom come to listen to the music, some to dance, more to gawk at the movie stars at the tables off the huge floor, or flying near the bar.
"Hollywood Periscope. Jesse Price Was Set As New Drummer with Stan Kenton." Metronome. July 1944. 12.
Jesse Price was set as new drummer with Stan Kenton for a week, and made four records with the band and prepared to head East with the Kenton crew. Then he got his notice. Howard Robbins made the trip instead.
"Personalities in the News. Stan Kenton.” Metronome. July 1944. 13.
Stan Kenton, now touring the East with his band, will hustle back to Hollywood in August to check in at Paramount for the film. Duffy’s Tavern, which goes into production at that time. Anita O’Day’s first record with the kenton few, Her tears Flowed Like Wine, will be released by Capitol in August.
"Stan Cans Film Deal." Metronome. September 1944. 10.
LOS ANGELES—Stan Kenton has been paid $15,000 by Paramount Studios and released from a contract calling for the “artistry in rhythm” band to appear in a motion picture, Duffy’s Tavern, now in production. Paramount, unable to roll the film on schedule in August after previously delaying its start from June, was refused another postponement by Kenton’s managers and the payoff was arranged instead. Kenton is playing eastern theaters and will not return to California until his opening at the Palladium Nov. 28.

Les Brown’s band also was paid off by Paramount earlier this year after having originally been signed to be filmed in
Bring On the Girls.
"Hollywood Periscope. Former Stan Kenton Trumpeter Marion Childers...." Metronome. September 1944. 12.
Former Stan Kenton Trumpeter Marion Childers released from the Army is now home in St. Louis convalescing.
"Chicago Telescope. Jack Fonds, Ex-Stan Kenton Bass Man...." Metronome. September 1944. 12.
Eddie Wiggin’s Orchestra playing at the Brass Rail on Randolph Street seems to be building into something. Tut Soper joined for the piano spot, replacing Bob Harrington who is suffering from a bad leg. Jack Fonda, ex-Stan kenton bass man, added with Hey Hey Humphreys’ wild drumming and Benny Weeks’ guitar. The high spot is provided by Wiggins who plays hot flute (!), oboe (!), and sax. Pick up on them.
"Dorris Starts Band." Metronome. October 1944. 9.
LOS ANGELES.—Newest jazz band to be formed in this bailiwick is a small combo led by Red Dorris, formerly Stan Kenton’s tenor sax soloist. Dorris opened at the Latin Quarter Sept. 16 for a four-seeker carrying options.
Milton Benny. "Hollywood Periscope. Skinnay Ennis Back on Bob Hope's Program." Metronome. October 1944. 28.
Skinnay Ennis back on Bob Hope's program. Stan Kenton refused it.
George T Simon. "New York Roundup. Johnny Richards." Metronome. November 1944. 18.
PUSHED into the Lincoln during a period when Manhattan’s hotel rooms are the squarest in years, Johnny Richards' potentially fine band could have been a smash hit. For it’s the only outfit around now that plays consistently hip music, featuring brilliant, ear-opening arrangements, a full league above the timid stuff that seeps out of other rooms.

Richards himself, a fine musician with a top West Coast rep, penned 408 of the band’s 500 manuscripts. They’re practically all top stuff, too, written to be played with a beat, with much emphasis upon modern tone coloring and voicing.

Unfortunately, though, the band isn’t ready, so that the beat and other effects were there only in anticipation. What’s more, the night I caught the band, Johnny tried out a flock of first trumpeters (not a brilliant idea, considering the circumstances), so that I never got to hear the brass with lead-man Paul Coyne. The trumpets sounded alike in all their combinations—terrible. That's why it's hardly fair for me to attempt to rate the band.

The trombones, with leader Sesma loud and impressive, sounded much better. Ditto the saxes, with first man Al Ciccario mighty impressive both on lead and on alto solos. Richards plays good tenor, too. As for the ack-ack trumpets, George Schwartz's jazz knocked out all, including me (but the guy was just subbing for the night), while Chubby Kuston’s upper register helped a lot. The rhythm section wasn't quite as useful. A more assertive and definitely steadier beat would assist Johnny’s fine manuscript greatly.

Showmanship of the band was negligible, understandable under existing circumstances. Dottie Reid looks well, even with a cold, while Chet Leroy does some nice singing. But ballads, like swing, never achieved a mood. After all, how can you get romantic with clams dropping all around you? Once Richards replaces some of those fisherman with musicians, he’s really going to have himself a helluva fine outfit.— SIMON.
"The Cover Is All Stan Kenton's This Month." Metronome. November 1944. 6.
The Cover is all Stan Kenton's this month. The happy Mr. K has every right to his infectious, toothsome grin. He did splendid business in Boston, in a precedent-breaking three-week run with Wilson. His records, even those METRONOME does not praise(!), are selling very well for Capitol. He is solidly and effectively booked for months ahead. Add to all of this an excellent band, one which plays more and better jazz than all but a handful of the top outfits, and you see why Stan Kenton is METRONOME'S cover subject this month.
"Personalities in the News. Stan Kenton." Metronome. November 1944. 12.
Stan Kenton, who opens at the Hollywood Palladium Nov. 28 following Woody Herman, has added Boots Muzzilli [sic] on alto and Emmett Karls on tenor; it is likely that the band also will make a picture while on the coast. Gene Howard, Stan's vocalist, drew a 4-F last month after a New York medical exam.
"Personalities. Stan Kenton Starts Another Cross-country Tour...." Metronome. January 1945. 37.
Stan Kenton starts another cross-country fur shortly, winding up at New York’s Capitol Theater, after four smash weeks at the Hollywood palladium and numerous west coast one-nighters.
"Flash. Dolly Mitchell...." Metronome. February 1945. 8.
Dolly Mitchell, formerly with Stan Kenton, is the new featured vocalist with Kay Kyser.
Milton Benny. "Hollywood Periscope. And What's This About Anita O'Day...." Metronome. February 1945. 11.
And what's this about Anita O’Day recording under own name with the help of Stan Kenton? Mighty unusual procedure, but then A.O. and S.K. are mighty unusual characters anyway.
"Stan, Carlos Take Flyer in Flour." Metronome. March 1945: 10
Los Angeles–With an output of 50 barrels of flour a day, the new mill in nearby Tecati, Mexico, operated by Stan Kenton, his manager Carlos Castel and GAC booker Dick Webster, is expected to begin operation late this month. The three owners invested money in the enterprise as "insurance" against the day when they leave the music business, they said. Machinery to process the grain now is en route from Kentucky to Tecati.
Milton Benny. "Hollywood Periscope. Anita O’Day Returned to L.A. Unexpectedly." Metronome. March 1945. 11.
Gleanings—Anita O’Day returned to L.A. unexpectedly, asserting that poor health caused her to take leave of Stan kenton. her friends claim she will cut out as a single with management coming from her spouse, Lt. Carl Hoff…And C.P. MacGregor is quietly assembling a sensational library of stuff by the Cole trio, Red Nichols, Stan Kenton, Peggy Lee and Anita Boyer, to be aired by indie radio stations throughout the U.S. and the armed forces.
"Flash. Dolly Mitchell...." Metronome. April 1945. 4.
Dolly Mitchell, currently with Kay Kaiser, married Howard (Red) Dorris, former Kenton tenor who just entered the Army.
Phil Featheringill. "Chicago Telescope. As a Fitting Climax...." Metronome. April 1945.
As a fitting climax to the College Inn’s month you will hear the fine Stan Kenton Orchestra rocking its way through from April 27 to May 10.
Phil Featheringill. "Chicago Telescope. Stan Kenton Opens`...." Metronome. May 1945. 10.
Stan Kenton opens at the College Inn of the Hotel Sherman and runs until May 10.
"Big N.Y. Breaks for Kenton." Metronome. June 1945: 9
CHICAGO–Flushed with success over his Sherman Hotel engagement, and admitting to the press that his band today is "by far the best I've ever. had," the usually conservative Stan Kenton made plans this month for his opening at the New York Paramount Theater June 28 to be followed, in early September, by a run at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Kenton's band has never played the two spots before.

Highlight of the Chicago engagement was the emergence of blonde June Christy as a valuable vocal discovery. She replaced Anita O'Day. Kenton also hired a violinist to be featured in specialties. Stan believes his next record, for Capitol, will top
Her Tears Flowed Like Wine in sales. It's entitled Tampico and features June Christy. A hot instrumental, Southern Scandal, will back it up.

Woody Herman's is probably the only band to play the Sherman in the last year to win the acclaim lavished on Kenton's new and revamped "artistry in rhythm" aggregation.
"Personalities. Stan Kenton." Metronome. August 1945. 24.
Stan Kenton is the most recent leader to revolt against the Palladium because of its low salaries. Matter may go to Petrillo for Arbitration.
"June Christy—Hip, Handsome." Metronome. September 1945. 12.
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June Christy is the kind of singer you dream about—a girl who is thoroughly hip in her singing, hip without being over-hip in her personal character, and blonde and beautiful in appearance. A combination like that happens very, very rarely, and Stan Kenton can consider himself a lucky guy.

June found her way to the top tortuously, by way of four names—from Shirley Luster to Sharon Leslie to Sharon Luster to June Christy, the last name having been dreamed up after she had spent four weeks with Kenton as Sharon Luster. Born Shirley Luster in 1925 in Springfield, Ill., she started singing in 1938 with jobbing hands and later worked with society hands around Chicago.

She was with Boyd Raeburn for four months at the Band Box in Chicago, but Boyd had a Mickey Mouse band in those days and June, having lately discovered race records, wasn't entirely in the right groove there. Boyd left town and she had scarlet fever. "Then came the panics–I couldn't work, had to recuperate at home for a long time, and then the 30 per cent tax killed everything. I was out of work three months. Then I worked with Benny Strong, but that society band stuff got me down again.”

After another panic (June's description of her career is punctuated by panics) she worked at something called Ye Olde Cellar on Michigan Avenue, accompanied by an organist. The next layoff lasted four or five months, after which came the Kentucky Stage Lounge, Denny Beckner, and more panics. She spent her last penny on some private recordings to send to Stan Kenton," having heard that Anita O'Day had left Stan. The records paved the way for her nicely, though I imagine her in-person appearance could have helped a little too.

Like Anita

The fact that June's voice 8ears a remarkable resemblance to Anita O'Day's was pointed out to her years ago, before she had ever heard Anita. Her first reaction was to listen to some of Anita's work, but the resemblance continues to be strictly coincidental and by no means deliberate. June just happens to have the combination of a wonderful heat, an odd throaty tone, and a little way of twisting the ends of the notes–the same combination that makes Anita great.

June doesn't like
Tampico. She is sick and tired of singing it and hates the record with which she made her disc debut. She is quite right in implying that she can do much better than that, for she happens to be just about the most delightful new jazz singer to hit the limelight in many months. You'll be hearing lots of her when Kenton grabs a mess of network time from the Penn come mid-September.
"Flash. Ed Safranski." Metronome. September 1945. 10.
Ed Safranski, former McIntyre bassist, joined Stan Kenton.
Milton Benny. "Hollywood Periscope. The Palladium." Metronome. October 1945. 13.
The Palladium drew in its bely last month when Harry James racked up 36,000 admissions in a single week at Casino Gardens. Jan Savitt is current as the Pally and will be followed Oct 30 by Stan Kenton’s self-styled “Artistry in Rhythm” combo, which is fast becoming one of the most ‘in demand’ outfits in the whole biz.
Dave Dexter Jr. "East Is East: Stan Kenton at the Pennsylvania." Metronome. November 1945. 24, 47.
Stan Kenton at the Pennsylvania…Like herman, he lets his brass blow and no one seems to object. Stan’s solo piano is the big kick and his powerful ensembles are at last reaching the perfection he’s always tried to achieve. The band will scare plenty of Hot Rocks on the coast next month; it’s second only to Herman’s in the ofay field and Ralph Collier’s drumming will make if even stronger.
"Record News. Capitol." Metronome. February 1946. 40.
Capitol has cut several sides with June Christy, Stan Kenton vocalist, backed by a small combo; firm has considerably expanded its office space in Hollywood as well as New York.
Leonard G Feather. "New York Roundup. Stan Kenton." Metronome. March 1946. 17.
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STAN KENTON'S BAND HAS BEEN DOING all right for itself out at Meadowbrook. The band is in good shape—much better shape than during its stint at the Pennsylvania's Cafe Rouge a few months back, when most of the ballads were played by five clarinets, each with a different concept of "A." The clarinet business has been eliminated and the band now plays ballads in a far more satisfactory manner.

Stan is an admirable guy. One of the nicest things to know about this band is that it is led by someone who is musically sincere. He is a forward-looking musician, a capable soloist himself, and the sponsor of some youthful and interesting jazz talent. The band is again being announced on the air and plugged generally as “band of the year,” which strikes me as a little corny, since this seems to have been the keynote of the band's general promotion every year for the past four or five. Stan no longer needs to be an anything-of-the-year or an up-and-coming. He has arrived, he is established; he is not the king of jazz and he's not making a million, but he is definitely somewhere.

His personnel at present is in pretty good shape. The brass section, somewhat chaotic on the opening night at Meadowbrook owing to illness and other circumstances, has since straightened out satisfactorily and blows powerfully and precisely most of the time. Ray Wetzel and Buddy Childers split the trumpet lead work and both do a good job. An old Kentonian from years back on the Coast, Chico Alvarez, has returned and is taking some of the trumpet jazz work. In the reed section, Boots Mussulli continues to do his able solo alto job and Al Anthony handles the lead. The main excitement in this section of the stand, however, is Vido Musso. This sturdy, hardy perennial is blowing as much tenor as ever, or more, with a bootful style and flexible tone. The instrumentals, such as
Intermission Riff and Painted Rhythm, owe a lot to Vido's contributions.

The rhythm team works pretty well as a unit despite the leader's vacillations between his keyboard and conducting chores and the changes in the percussion department. Charlie Perry, the latest drummer, now seems to be a fixture, and ought to work out well. Ed Safranski's bass is the cornerstone of this quartet. In addition to playing great rhythm, Ed is an outstanding solo man with a fine tone and good ideas.

June Christy, one of the cutest, blondest, littlest band singers, is also one of the most listenable. Though her intonation is still her one major weakness, she seems to be improving, and her personality, combined with her exhilarating beat that permeates all her work, should make her a cinch with any audience, hip or square. Gene Howard continues to handle the male vocals in conventional fashion, his main point of interest being his unusual double as an arranger. Gene's one of "a number of able Kenton writers.

The band is at its most exciting on original affairs like
Artistry Jumps or the swell treatment of Just a Sittin' and a Rockin'. It is at its weakest on such trivial trips as Shoo Fly Pie and I’ve Been Down In Texas, both of which nonsense songs are unfortunately on the band's current hit record and are consequently played all the time. It can only be hoped that Stan, who has so much good music to offer and who spends a reasonable proportion of his time (including his air time) offering it, will eventually be as widely recognized for this as for the ‘'commercial stuff.” As Shakespeare might have said, the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their one night stands. —FEATHER
Phil Featheringill. "Chicago Telescope. Rainbow Gardens." Metronome. April 1946. 41.
The Rainbow Gardens already has Bobby Sherward, Frankie Carle and Stan Kenton rigged for a run and should be busy indeed. You will find the ballroom at Lawrence and Clark Streets.
"Flash. Stan Kenton." Metronome. July 1946. 12.
Red Dorris, ex-Kenton tenorman and vocalist home from the wars, joined the Bob Mohr band.

Stan Kenton and mgr. Carlos Gastel vacationed in Mexico City last month; their first real layoff in five years.
Bob Laughlin. "Hollywood Roundup. Stan Kenton." Metronome. August 1946. 46.
Stan Kenton opened on July 9, at the Meadowbrook Gardens. The opening was something of an anniversary for the tall good-natured arranger and his band. It was exactly five years ago, on page 31 of the August 1941 issue of METRONOME that this reporter wrote the first story about the Kenton band. At that time Stan was playing at Balboa, California for a $35 a week scale. Today al the Meadowbrook, Kenton has a $5,500 weekly payroll, which doesn't include his own take. Only three original members of the band remain today, Chico Alverez, the trumpeter, Bob Gioga, barjtone, and Stan himself. Gioga, incidentally, deserves a lot of credit in connection with Kenton's rise to popularity. Considered only a run-of-the-mill baritone man five years ago, he is among the top in the business today. In addition he is the band's road manager and is responsible for much of the Kenton band's deserved reputation for business acumen. Dorothy Gioga. the baritone man’s attractive wife, is Kenton’s secretary. Gioga is also the only man in the band who has never missed a job with Kenton.
"Business Fair, Kenton Leads." Metronome. December 1946. 58.
Band business was reported as only fair on the East and West Coasts during November, though Chicago continued to show brisk attendance marks. Many names returned to New York but business still didn't pick up. No plausible explanation has been offered.

Meanwhile, musicians were assured of more wage increases to meet the rising cost of living. A threatened recording strike was averted, when AFM officials and heads of the recording companies agreed upon a boost of approximately 25 per cent for musikers.

One new band, Ray Eberle's, made its debut at the Post Lodge in Larchmont, N.Y., while MCA announced plans for a twelve-piece outfit to be built around Johnny McAfee, former James and Goodman vocalist and alto saxist. Sy Oliver's large, mixed band was due to bow in New York's Zanzibar in late November.

Ellington's band was running second in METRONOME'S annual all-star poll, with Woody Herman not in first, but in third slot after the first rush of ballots had been tabulated. First spot belonged to Stan Kenton. Boyd Raebum was weII represented. The King Cole Trio was far ahead among small groups. Among individual musicians, Johnny Hodges and Willie Smith were very close on alto, Benny was far ahead on clarinet, Hawkins, Flip, Ventura, Auld and Musso were tightly batched on tenors with Carney running away with the baritone chair. Eldridge and Gillespie were in front among the trumpets with Neal Hefti surprisingly high. Harris and Lawrence BroWn headed the trombones. Piano votes were widely scattered, as usual. Oscar Moore led Billy Bauer among guitarists, while Chubby Jackson was slightly in the lead over bassists Safranski, Pettiford and Stewart. The veteran Gene Krupa jumped back into the drum lead which he had held in previous years, while Norvo led Hampton on miscellaneous instruments. King Cole over Sinatra, Peggy Lee over Billie Holiday with Sauter, Burns, Ellington and Handy in that order among arrangers were other indications of how things could stand when final results are announced in the January METRONOME.
"Kenton Kapers." Metronome. February 1947. 49
Still going strong, in spite of the sad conditions surrounding jazz in general, is METRONOME'S Band of the Year. Biggest news is in the personality department, however. Tenorman Vido Musso, his Coast band broken up after only a few weeks of active life, filed a plea to rejoin the band and was scheduled to return about January 20. Stan finally got his Pastels, a vocal group that includes Margaret Dale, formerly with Alvino Rey's Airliners. June Christy was married January 14 to tenorman Bob Cooper. Ed Gabel, for two years band boy and property man for the Kenton band, was promoted to the post of handling Stan's personal affairs and a new bandboy added. Sad story that Herb Jeffries will not join the band after all, mainly because of his inability to get a release from his Exclusive recording contract, brought forth the news that tenorman Red Dorris is now doing Jeffries-styled vocals for Stan. Future personal appearances for the band all hinge on the success of a recording date at Capitol's New York studios on January 2—if Stan got the effects he desired, he planned to accept dates that would keep him near enough to New York for a monthly recording session. New idea for the band's records is the result of Kenton recordings being ignored by juke box dealers in the past: from· now on, six sides a year will be aimed at commercial demands and six will continue the "progressive jazz" movement.
"Rugged Rugolo." Metronome. April 1947. 27, 46.
IF STAN KENTON has the Band of the Year—and this seems to have been established beyond any reasonable doubt—then surely Pete Rugolo should be the arranger of the same annum. For, as Stan will be only too happy to tell you, it is Rugolo who has done as much to give the Kenton hand its personal style in the past year as Ralph Burns did for the Herman band in 1945.

Pete, though still. comparatively unknown, made his first real step from obscurity when the Kenton Artistry in Rhythm album appeared last November. The annotations in that volume, however, failed to give any biographical details on the guy or to explain his importance in the band's set-up. METRONOME tried to rectify this in a review of the album, but one of us Deuces got mixed up and changed Pete from Rugolo to Rugulo throughout. We hope he'll soon be so famous that his name will be no harder to remember than Koussevitzky’s.

We hope this is not only because Pete is a great arranger, one of the most promising in jazz today, but also because he is, by jazz standards an eccentric person. To be eccentric by jazz standards you simply have to be normal. Pete Rugolo, however, is living, breathing proof that you can be a quiet, modest, right-living guy, happily married, with no apparent vices, and still create fine music. He also proves, as if proof were needed, that you don’t have to be an American to feel or understand American jazz; for Pete uttered his first musical notes on Christmas Day, 1915, in a little town near Messina, Italy. His father, a shoemaker, former stonemason and architect, music lover and one-time musician in Italian town bands, brought Pete over here four years later; they lived briefly in the East before moving to Santa Rosa, Cal., where Rugolo, Sr., still makes his home. Pete has two sisters who were born in this country, neither of them in the business, though both play piano.

Rugolo pere, eager for his son to become a musician, bought him a mandolin, and eight-year-old Pete stayed with it four years before progressing to a real banjo and subsequently a baby grand piano. At Santa Rosa High he blew his Dad's baritone horn; the teacher told him a French horn was needed for the school band, so he switched. Later he was to play French horn in the Sonoma County Symphony and the United State Army.

Pete gravitated to jazz by way of a school dance band, and to way of “listening to records and experimenting.” He points out that in the school band “I played piano and arranged in all the second-hand styles, borrowed from Duchin, Noble and Kemp. But I did get around to studying music, got a bachelor's degree at San Francisco State College and did some jobbing and arranging for San Francisco bands.”

Up to this point Pete’s only influence.had been Ellington of the
It Don't Mean a Thing period. Sauter was then coming up, as Red Norvo's bright, young hope, and this became Rugolo’s first important modern influence; he also recollects being on a Goodman kick for quite awhile.

In 1940, Pete encountered a great opportunity in a strange place. Darius Milhaud, he heard, was going to teach at Mills College in Oakland. Mills. was a girls' college. But Pete wanted a master's degree and wanted to study with Milhaud in the worst way. (Studying with a bunch of girls didn't turn out! to be the worst way by a long shot, one assumes.)

“Milhaud was great,” recalls Rugolo. “He took an interest in me; he liked jazz, and encouraged me to use jazz forms and ideas in serious music. ‘I wrote a suite.for strings and it won .an annual prize at Mills for the best composition.”

Pete's next move took him to Denver as pianist with Leon Mohica's band. Living in the same boarding house with him in Denver was a lovely girl named Jan Thompson, from Oklahoma. The band went back to Hollywood, played the Casino Gardens, and Pete married Jan in 1942.

After eight months with Mohican Pete met Johnny Richards, who then had his own band. Johnny asked him to join him as chief arranger. Skip Layton (now with Kenton) was playing trombone in the band, and the drummer, who doubled on vocals (and played good drums, says Pete) was Andy Russell.

Pete stayed with Richards for fourteen months, during the last six of which he played piano as well as writing. The Army then lured Rugolo with a better offer, to which he succumbed in December 1942. For three and a half years he was in charge of a sharply uniformed band at Fort Scott, San Francisco.

The Army band sounded just like Pete's latest influence, Stan Kenton. Pete had heard Kenton shortly before being drafted, and was intrigued by his original voicings. Kenton had heard records of Pete's Army band, but knew nothing else about him, when Pete ventured backstage one day at the Golden Gate Theatre and offered Stan an arrangement called, for reasons unknown,
Opus A Dollar Three Eighty.

For seven months Pete didn't hear a word from Stan. He assumed the arrangement had been neglected,or rejected. Then suddenly—boom! Telegrams, letters, long distance calls from Kenton, all declaring that this was “exactly what the band's been needing!!” Still in the Army, Pete was promised a job immediately upon his discharge, and that's just the way it happened.

The Kenton-Rugolo partnership has produced an ever strengthening feeling of mutual respect. Pete writes virtually the whole Kenton book, and has been working closely with the Pastels trying to make them into something more than just another vocal group.

Pete's principal works in the past year have been
Artistry In Boogie, Rika Jika Jack, It's a Pity To Say Goodnight, Alter You, His Feet Too Big For De Bed, Come Back To Sorrento, Artistry in Percussion, Artistry in Bass (Safranski), Artistry in Bolero and the wonderful Willow Weep For Me. Before departing for the coast recently he also said he expected to record ten originals out there. Maybe one of them will be called Artistry in Artistry, suggested to Pete by a certain jazz critic who likes the Kenton-Rugolo music but is powerful tired of the titles.

Young-looking, very quiet and modest, Pete is serious about his work and is interested in anybody else who is “trying to do something for modern music”—which, he says, takes in the Heftis, Burns, Strayhorns, Handys and, of course, Ellington.

He also is serious when he tells you what a great guy Kenton is to work for. But that's hardly news. Maybe we'd better inform Pete that Kenton feels pretty happy about Pete, too. Now it only remains for the public to encourage them both to further heights by proving that despite all the "you-can't-get-away-with-it" trade talk, there is still room for good music—on land, on screen and in the air.
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"Point and Counterpoint. Deluge Dept." Metronome. May 1947. 6.
This month's commentary on the rise and fall of jazz is a little more confused than unusual, but on the whole, the news is bad. A band was scheduled to break up temporarily, but due to the disappointment the news caused to the spots which had hired it for future dates, the disbanding was first postponed, then announced again.

The story is this: Stan Kenton, on advice of his doctor, announced a three-month vacation beginning May 2, planning; to return to work on August 15 and forfeiting an estimated $150,000 meantime. But the operators to whom Stan was contracted through August 2 were so loud in their disapproval that Kenton at first
yielded, then broke down, this time finally yielded to his doctor.

It's encouraging to find that a band that has maintained one of the largest groups of musicians in a period when other bands were cutting down or giving up entirely, that has now reached the highest point of success in popularity and financial gain, will vacation due to its leader's health and not due to money troubles.

Key Kenton personalities are scheduled to return after Stan’s enforced layoff.
"Point and Counterpoint. Deluge Dept. (Reverse Ed.)." Metronome. September 1947. 6.
On September 12, the Stan Kenton band will resume operations as a unit, with its leader fully recovered from his nervous breakdown of last Spring. First date for the band will be at Balboa, California, scene of one of its first big triumphs and subject of the Kenton original, Balboa Bash. Coast one-nighters follow for a week before an Eastward trek.

Personnel of the revised band will be essentially the same as that when it broke up, with the exception of vocalist June Christy. She has been doing a single since May, and will continue on her own.
"Kenton Comes Back." Metronome. November 1947. 16-17.
STAN KENTON, his band re-formed, plans to produce music that's more progressive than ever. His huge, new outfit will have two complete libraries, one for dances and one for concerts, and its personnel will include a famous Brazilian concert guitarist and a bongo drummer.

Kenton, with the help of arranger Pete Rugolo, is definitely after more new sounds. He plans to display these on a series of concerts, while at the same time minimizing the importance of his outfit as a dance hand. He feels that the American public is just about ready to accept jazz as an art form for listening, and he decries the critics who claim that his is not a jazz band because it does not keep a steady pulsating beat. In his effort to raise the acceptance of jazz he plans to enlist the aid of educators, especially members of college and high school faculties.

The complete personnel of Kenton's new band is pictured at left. Trumpets, left to right, are Al Porcino, Buddy Childers, Ray Wetzel, Ken Hanna, Chico Alvarez. Trombones are Harry Betts, Harry Forbes, Milton Bernhart, Eddie Burt [
sic], Bart Varsalona. Saxes are Bob Gioga, an unnamed sub named Joe, George Weidler, Warner Weidler, Bob Cooper. Shelley Manne and Eddie Safranski are back on drums and bass. Next to Manne is bongo drummer Jack Costanza and Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeido [sic sits next to Safranski. June Christy has returned and will split vocals with Ray Wetzel. The other photos are self-explanatory, all except the second shot from top at left which shows Kenton in a tense gab-fest with arranger Pete Rugolo,and manager Carlos Gastel.
Barry Ulanov. "What's Wrong with Kenton?" Metronome. February 1948. 17, 32-17, 33.
text coming soon
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Barry Ulanov. "The Sins of Progressive Jazz." Metronome. April 1948. 50.
THE PRODIGAL SIN has come home to roost. The prodigal sin—a sin of my own making. And that, dear friends and gentle jazz fans, is what might be called the sin of nomenclature. I’m talking about all my talk about “progressive jazz,” my talk and others’. We made such a fuss about progress in jazz, that lots of readers and musicians began to confuse the music with the name, and reached the point where anything that claimed to be progressive in effect became progressive. And so these unfortunate people became high-ranking members of the dangerous “thinking makes it so” school, in which nothing ever has any precise meaning.

The sin came violently to roost a couple of months ago upon the publication of my bill of particulars on
What’s Wrong With Kenton. The mail this piece of mine elicited fell, roughly, into three categories: plain abuse by intense kenton fans; support of my stand; epistles of grief which leveled a trembling finger at me and sighed sadly, “Et tu, Barry!” It’s this last group of aggrieved ones I am discussing here, those lamenting readers who felt I was deserting the Army of Progress in finding any fault at all with Stan, who waves the largest, brightest flag in that Army. Stan and his gallery of press agents have proclaimed him prime champion of progressive jazz, and thereby, they think, firmly established him in that hero’s role. To raise any doubts about the quality of the kenton music is, to the lights of his chief supporters, to resign from progressive jazz ranks and to become suspect, maybe even of that arch-heresy, Moldy Figism.

Well, I am here this month to say that thinking does
not make it so, to tell all and sundry that I don’t give a drummer’s damn wether or not my views are accepted as progressive, and to insist that the music of Stan Kenton or any other so-called progressive jazz must be submitted to much more than verbal analysis before it can be assayed as the real thing. And let us understand, too, that “the real thing” in jazz is not simply that which makes for progress, but also that which satisfies some of the profounder requirements of any valid art form.

Self-styled progress in itself means nothing. As a matter of fact, at this point, that cry has become suspicious, not gimmick, and nothing more. And that ain’t progress.
"Point and Counterpoint. Personalities." Metronome. June 1948. 6.
On September 12, the Stan Kenton band will resume operations as a unit, with its leader fully recovered from his nervous breakdown of last Spring. First date for the band will be at Balboa, California, scene of one of its first big triumphs and subject of the Kenton original, Balboa Bash. Coast one-nighters follow for a week before an Eastward trek.

Personnel of the revised band will be essentially the same as that when it broke up, with the exception of vocalist June Christy. She has been doing a single since May, and will continue on her own.
George T Simon. "Stan Kenton and His Guitarist, Laurindo Almeida." Metronome. October 1948. 7.
Stan Kenton and his guitarist, Laurindo Almeida, discuss progressive boating as a prelude to Stan’s current tour of progressive music concerts. Last month the band invaded New York’s Carnegie Hall for two evenings, sold out on one of them, and presented an unusually slick concert, played more cleanly then on any previous appearances and paced much more wisely. Newcomers Parke Groat and Harry DiVito were especially impressive with they trombones, though Irv Kluger’s overzealous drumming detracted considerably from the proceedings, which will be repeated again and again this month throughout the Midwest. Chicgoans get tp hear the Kentonians on October 9 and 10 at the Chicago Civic Opera House.—George Simon
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Barry Ulanov. "He's in and He's Out!." Metronome. January 1949. 15-16.
Stan Kenton wins poll, disbands to fight for decent working conditions for his music and that of second-place Dizzy, third-place Woody, and the rest of modern jazz

FOR THE THIRD YEAR in succession, Stan Kenton's is the favorite band of METRONOME readers, but Stan doesn't have a band any more. He doesn't have a band and he doesn't want one and he won't have one until the conditions under which he (and all other jazz bandleaders) must work today are much improved. Stan is convinced that jazz is a concert music, or at least his branch of it is, and not a series of background noises for the shuffling of dancers’ feet and the clinking of drinkers’ glasses and the undulating tones of night club conversation. He believes that jazz, to be properly appreciated by its most loyal audience, America's youth, must be played in dignified surroundings, at decent hours, and must be made available at reasonable prices. Most remarkable, the leader of the country's number one band is prepared to make large personal sacrifices for his convictions and beliefs.

If Stan’s plan to offset the difficult working conditions which beset jazz bands is to work he will need the cooperation of the bands which placed second and third, 28 votes apart, Dizzy Gillespie's and Woody Herman's, as well as those which placed fourth (Duke Ellington), fifth (Gene Krupa), sixth (Ray McKinley), as well as the top small jazz crews and singers. As new bookers have arisen around the country to organize and sponsor Stan’s concerts, new auspices can be found to set up clubs in which concert jazz can be played, according to the Kenton plan. These will have to be commodious, off the track which is so beat, away from the sordid elements in the business which have made what Stan calls “hell-holes” of most of the usual gathering places of jazz musicians and fans.

“'I don't blame the theatre managers. I don't blame the ballroom owners,” Stan says. “But we can't go on like this, and neither can any other self-respecting jazz unit. This is a growing music, one which requires thoughtful consideration on the part of listeners as well as musicians, and the right working conditions under which such consideration can be given on everybody's part. The way we've been going is the way out, not financially, not commercially, but personally. We're ragged human beings, those of us who play these grueling theatre schedules, the wild hops from town to town, the crazy hours in the crazy places. We're nervous, sick, unhappy, and our music is going to become all of those things too unless we watch out.”

There is little doubt in our minds that directness of expression, willingness to experiment, and courage of conviction are the elements responsible for Stan's continuing success. These same virtues highlight his present appeal, an appeal as broad as it is heartfelt, as determined as it is vigorous.

Before announcing his intention to disband following his Paramount engagement in December, Stan consulted with his band. He found agreement, the same common assent which has made of his band a powerful precision instrument, utilized under tremendous pressure, at enormous volume. Soon afterward, he presented his plan to the trade press, and in particular detail, at particular length, to the editors of METRONOME. Again, he found agreement and encouragement.

It bodes well for Stan's plan that he gets it under way at a time when his music and musicians are so popular. The extent of that popularity is indicated by his decisive victory in the METRONOME band poll, along with the firsts scored by Pete. Rugolo, Eddie Safranski and Shelly Manne, his own third in the piano division, June Christy's second, and the conspicuous success of Art Pepper, George Weidler, Bob Cooper, Bob Gioga, Chico Alvarez, Laurindo Almeida, and Jack Costanza. The overall success in the poll of progressive bands, of Dizzy and Woody and their musicians, of men like Billy Eckstine, Billy Bauer and Lennie Tristano, the general sympathy extended new jazz all of this augurs well for Stan Kenton's fight. In announcing simultaneously the results of this year’s poll and the thinking that lies behind Stan's plan, the editors of METRONOME have a double privilege and an announced responsibility: this article stands as an earnest of our intention to join with Stan Kenton and. to support his every effort to establish jazz on its proper level. This is a common endeavor—at least it should be—in which we hope to find every conscientious musician, booker, critic and fan, anybody and everybody to whom jazz means something more than a four letter word.
"Point and Counterpoint. Barnet Vice Kenton." Metronome. March 1949. 6.
Stan Kenton’s successor has already been appointed. So says Charlie Barnet, who is not only the appointer but the appointee. The Mad Mab expects not only to fill the Kenton concert route but also the dance-halls that Stan abandoned in favor of his “concerts only” policy. Barnet has signed with Stan's alma mater, Capitol, and has cut some half-dozen sides for them. His arrangements are being written by Gil Fuller, of Gillespie fame, and by Paul Villepigue, long a mainstay of the modernist school of arranging. Among those present in the band are Dave Matthews, long-time Barnet tenorman and arranger, trumpeter Lamar Wright, drummer Cliff Leemans, pianist Claude Williamson, about whom we've heard good things, and Eddie Safranski.

Currently at the Clique, Charlie is quoted by press agent Virginia Wicks (who handled the Kenton public relations) as saying, “We will play in any hall, room, location or theatre, where an audience is gathered to hear or dance to modern jazz. We will not restrict our music to any one style. I will never be guilty of playing stylized music. Too many walls have been built up by bandleaders as to what constitutes progressive or advanced sounds in music. It's time these walls were broken down.”

Meanwhile, Stan Kenton was wandering in sunny Mexico or Florida or South America or some tropical spot, still undecided as to exactly what he'll do. June Christy was in California, mulling appearances with Norman Granz, whom Shelly Manne has already joined. The whereabouts of Candoli, DiVito and Safranski you can read elsewhere in this dept. and a note from Ray Wetzel tells us that he has organized a five-piece group and is playing in Columbus. Pete Rugolo is currently in New York, working as recording supervisor for Capitol's Eastern sessions, specifically those of a jazz nature.
George T Simon. "New King of Jazz?" Metronome. April 1949. 13-14.
Charlie Barnet swears he’s not after Kenton’s crown but he and his fine new band are ambitious and serious

THE STORIES you hear about Charlie Barnet being primed as the successor to Stan Kenton just aren't true. Origin of this denial, couched in vehement terms, is Charlie Barnet, whose partially progressive-sounding band has been thrilling a good many jazz enthusiasts along the Eastern seaboard.

The word ‘partially’ is used avidly and refers more to a survey of a night's hearing than it does to that of any one arrangement. For the Barnet band is still in a state of experimenting and of readjustment. Mixed in among some of Charlie's North American Indian standards and cutish Bunny Briggs vocals are some truly progressive arrangements, penned mostly by Manny Alban [
sic] and Paul Villepigue, with occasional bits from Pete Rugolo, Johnny Richards and Walter Fuller. These are played by some of Charlie's North American standbys, like Dave Matthews, Kurt Bloom and Cliff Leeman, and by some newer like that of Eddie Safranski and trumpeters Doc Severenson, a youngster with amazing facility, and Lammar Wright, a brilliant and dependable top-range artist.

Charlie hopes to play more and more of his newer arrangements as the public forgets more and more about his older ones. He realizes that he has to fulfill requests and so he does. But he’s much more interested in and much more excited about his new stuff, and though he denies emphatically that he's out to be Kenton's successor, he nevertheless does hope his will become the top band, commercially and musically. As for becoming King of the Progressive Field: “I don't like that word ‘progressive,’ ” he says seriously, “Wish I could think of a better one.” Regardless of semantics, Charlie is thinking and Charlie is serious these days. He's all business. He's analyzing his chances and he thinks those chances are very good. Heretofore he has busted up just as many bands as he has started but he intends to keep this one intact, excluding necessary personnel changes, for a long time, at least for as long as it takes to prove that he will or will not be the New King of something or other.

Some of those necessary personnel changes will take place among the trumpets. At this writing, Charlie had two additions in mind, both veterans of other top bands. There was talk ol’ Shelly Manne’s coming in to rejoin Safranski. And Charlie was looking very hard for a girl singer.

Barnet wants to surround himself with modern musicians. He wants to feature them, to feature them just as much as, if not more than himself. He feels he has definite limitations as a soloist, despite the fact that he has been doing very well on three saxes, tenor, alto, and soprano. “But,” he admits, “I’d make a perfect ass of myself if I attempted to become a bopper. I appreciate bop. To quote Woody, ‘I dig those kids the most.’ But that doesn't mean that I can play what they're playing.”

Don't let the Barnet modesty lead you think that Charlie worships what the younger kids are playing. He feels that some of them, including some of the most popular, aren’t conscious enough of the beat. “I still like to hear the beat. I don't like it when it's too abstract. To me, jazz should be exciting. Remember, there's a difference between ‘exciting’ and ‘startling,' which is what some of the younger kids don't realize. But you knoll once those younger kids get used to hearing a real exciting beat, they come around. We've had that happen in our own band.”

Barnet thinks his beat is going to be made all the more exciting by the addition of a bongo drummer. “We're going use him only on particular things. Right now the bongo sounds best on fast tempos—it gives you sort of a floating feeling. But it'll have to be edited. Frankly, we're just experimenting.”

Throughout everything that he's doing, Charlie wants to keep a jazz feeling. That even goes for his other library, the one which he uses only on dance dates. Currently he's most interested, however, in his concert library, for that's the one which he hopes will bring him greatest recognition.

From reports in the trade, that recognition seems to be coming along nicely. Virginia Wicks, smart young publicity gal who had been handling Kenton, is now campaigning for Charlie. And Charlie is “very happy to be able to say something good about MCA. They're really doing something constructive in that office. They've brought in new kids, like Erv Brabec, in particular, who know what they're doing. They're being encouraged by guys like Larry Barnett, too. You know, it's really a funny sight seeing some of that Old Guard up there trying to dig what's going on and looking like they really believe it!”

Though some of the less initiated may not dig what Barnet is doing, the whole procedure isn't too difficult to comprehend for those who have followed the Mad Mab through the years. Despite the fact that he has organized, disbanded and reorganized probably more than any three other top leaders in the field, he has always managed to have a band that has ranged anywhere from good to excellent. Most of whatever faults his outfits have had could usually be traced to their immaturity, to the uncertain feeling among the musicians that “this is just another Barnet band and who knows where we'll he tomorrow.”

But that's not true today. Today Charlie is an intensely serious, determined leader. Labelled in many books as just about the ideal front-man for a band (he sings, too, you know!), he now, for the first time in years, seems destined to capitalize (he records for Capitol, too) on his many attributes, physical and mental as well as musical. The success story of Charlie Barnet is fast approaching the happy climax. For further developments, watch and listen!
"Point and Counterpoint. New Connections." Metronome. July 1949. 6.
Stan Kenton arrived in Hollywood and vague talk of his discussing a new band drifted back to New York.
"Point and Counterpoint. Kenton...and Others." Metronome. January 1950. 8.
Stan Kenton, in New York for a few days during December, confirmed plans for his concert tour which will start on February 9 in Seattle. The 40-piece band will do 89 concerts in 3½ months, coming into Carnegie Hall in April. Rehearsals will start January 20, and the first Innovations in Modern Music album for Capitol will be cut soon thereafter.
Barry Ulanov. "Stan Snaps Back." Metronome. February 1950. 11-12.
in-no-vate (in-noh-vayt) v. [-vate.ed; ]. To change by introducing a new factor; start something new in-no-va-tive adj. — va-tor n.

in-no-va-tion n. A new fashion: novelty. 2. Initiation of something new. — tion-al adj.
STAN KENTON starts innovating in Seattle on February 9, and he will continue to innovate from West Coast to East until he lands at Carnegie Hall for the Easter weekend, when he will play Saturday and Sunday night concerts, presenting his Innovations of 1950. No, it isn't an all girl show or an ice follies, as the title at first glance would seem to imply; it's a serious musical venture, the intent and meaning of which is summed up in all those words stemming from the same root, innovate, innovative, innovator, innovation, innovational.

There will be more than a new factor in Stan's 1950 concerts; everything will be new. “When we start the tour,” Stan says, “we're not going to draw on anything played before. No
Eager Beaver. No Artistry in Rhythm. Everybody says the public won't go for our new music. If we tell the public everybody says they're not going to go for it, they'll pull a reverse. And we're going to tell the public. We're going to tell them why they don't hear fresh music, new music, experimental modern music. Somehow, we're going to try to break loose the stagnation which hangs over the music business. And we'll make it—make it without the help of anybody, except those people who are familiar with the name of Stan Kenton.”

Stan's material has been gathered from half a dozen sources. Pete Rugolo, of course, has contributed a large share of his concert book. There is new work by Johnny Richards, Neal Hefti and Bob Graettinger, scored for five reeds, nine brass, rhythm and sixteen strings. “We’ll still beat anybody rhythmically,” Stan boasts, with an accompanying smile. “We’ll beat them on brass and reeds, we can still be stopped on strings, but we’ve got to use them. I know all the sounds that come from horns. We've muted and re-muted; there's still no way to get a counteracting balance except with strings. To give you an idea of what I mean, listen to that Bartok Concerto for Strings which Capitol has just recorded (see page 27). I blew my top when I heard it. It only uses twenty-two strings, but beautifully. When we know the strings are going to have such a sound, we’re going to hand it to them. And we're also going to use the strings for strong percussion effects. I don't want to become a Kostalanetz.”

Stan is going to innovate on records as well as in three and a half months of concerts. Just before starting his tour, he will have finished making eight sides of compositions by his enlarged composing and arranging staff. None will be longer than four minutes, five seconds, in order to fit on twelve-inch records. Each composition will have a different character, drawn from as wide a variety of talents and styles as possible. “We want a fresh variety. We've been too selfish, kept the thing in the family too long, had too much of the same sounds.”

Did he find anything startlingly new in his recent trip to South America? “I heard music there that Sammy Kaye wouldn’t do when he was drunk. There were some pretty good samba bands in Brazil. In Argentina everything was the tango, exactly as we had it in the States in 1925; out of every week only twelve and a half hours of radio time is allotted to all other music, everything from Gillespie to Sousa. And the musicians don't do so well—the finest make about $75 a week and pick up another 75 from the tea jobs they work afternoons.”

In his year's layoff, Stan has given a lot of thought to his profession, its past, present and future, its general state of being, well or otherwise. “The thirty-five or forty years of jazz are finished as an era,” he reflects. “We might as well close the door on it. Maybe it should have been closed three or four years ago. Maybe we 're going to go back to the minuet or the Viennese waltz. Wherever we go, we're certainly not going to jitterbug again.

“The future is broad and inspiring. Modern musicians will use every conceivable method, no matter what it is. My band has gone beyond my own technical knowledge in its use of the complexities of modern orchestration.” To catch up with his brilliant youngsters, Stan is doing some studying with Frank Marks, a purveyor of the Schillinger method. Though he thinks Schoenberg’s is, like too much of the writing of our time, “push button music,” he took kindly to my suggestion that he listen further to the works of the Master and his disciples and read Rene Leibowitz’s book on “Schoenberg and his School.” Above all, Stan Kenton wants to innovate, but he wants more than just “new fashions" or “novelties”, as the dictionary would have it. He’s insistent on substance and quality, as best he understands those distinctions in music. He wants to ground himself, his musicians and his audiences in the provocative lines of modern music, lines which he is convinced will be enduring beyond fad or fashion, the minuet, the Viennese waltz or the jitterbug. He hopes that there will be an interest in innovations as responsive and as intense as his own.

“l want this thing t o be a success. Our box office will be speculative, I know that. We may have a lot of curiosity-seekers; they may swell our audiences. But even if
Innovations of 1950 isn’t a success, we will have planted the seeds for next year.” Thus, Stan Kenton, ever the proselyte, admits his professional calling, and prays (as every good proselyte should) that his admission will make him a living, and that living music will find admission in America. —BARRY ULANOV
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"Point and Counterpoint. All Change." Metronome. February 1950. 8.
Drummers Buddy Rich and Shelly Manne returned to old bosses Tommy Dorsey and Stan Kenton. Ex-Herman altruists Herb Steward and trombonist Ollie Wilson joined Elliot Lawrence.
"Point and Counterpoint. Innovations in Modern Concerts." Metronome. April 1950. 6.
Stan Kenton added—by accident—a new feature to his concert presentations when he played Minneapolis last month. Scheduled to present Innovations in Modern Music to two Minneapolis audiences, a blizzard accompanied the first of the two, making it impossible for the first audience to leave or the second one to come into the concert hall, so Stan proclaimed open forum. Every member of the Kenton organization, from Stan to band boy, descended into the audience and mingled with those who were interested in some particular facet of the band business in general or Kenton business in particular, and held forth in a question and answer session until the storm abated. Reports this far from the concert tour have been good, regarding both music and attendance.
Barbara Hodgkins. "Stanley, I Presume." Metronome. March 1951. 11-12, 24.
STAN KENTON is the sort of man who, in the days before The Hucksters, was described as sincere. Since the publication of that scurrilous tome, even people far removed from the advertising business hesitate to use the word seriously, but it remains the best possible one to characterize him: “Free from pretense or deceit, the same in reality as in seeming or profession…”

It is this sincerity, this dedication of his professional lifo to what he believes that has made Stan one of the moot respected bandleaders in jazz; one of the most genuinely admired men, personally and professionally, in his field. It is his sincerity of purpose, almost more than anything he has achieved musically, that has made Stan's band one of the most popular in the country. It has kept fans loyal to the Kenton name even during the times when there was actually no Kenton band. And it has helped advance the cause of jazz that he has espoused so fiercely and faithfully.

Stan now stands at what is possibly the most important cross-roads that has yet; occurred in his career. He has two bands, playing two kinds of music, and although it is his avowed intention to keep both going, it seems almost inevitable that eventually war, peace or the vagaries of the music business will force him to choose between them. His 20-piece
Artistry in Rhythm orchestra is probably the most talent-packed dance band now in existence. It started life playing a summer job to keep Stan’s musicians fed, happy and available as the nucleus of the double- sized Kenton Innovations in Modern Music concert orchestra, scheduled to take to the road this winter. It did so well during the summer months that it went on tour last fall. And it did so well in the fall that Innovations was postponed until next September so that the dance band could continue to tour.

Stan is not really happy with this band. He feels that his future and the future of jazz lie in the presentation of the kind of music he has been playing in concert, the serious work of men like Franklyn Marks, Bob Graettinger and Pete Rugolo. It is more or less of a chore for him to play the
Lovers, the Lauras and the Love for Sales. He says too that his musicians feel the same way. It would hardly be ethical to check up on Stan’s statement by asking his musicians point-blank which music they prefer to play. It seems unlikely, however, that youngsters like Don Bagley, Maynard Ferguson and Bud Shank would feel as Stan does. Or men like Eddie Bert, Milt Bernhart, Al Porcino and Shelly Manne, who have played not only with previous Kenton dance bands but with other swinging groups. Or musicians of the cool school like Bob Cooper, Art Pepper and especially Shorty Rogers, who is not only an obvious admirer of the Miles Davis trumpet style but who played and wrote for the swingingest band of them all, Woody Herman's 1945 Herd. It seems unlikely that these musicians prefer the tightly constructed Innovations arrangements to the freedom of solo and the fluidity of section work in the Kenton dance band scores. For it is the presence of these musicians, their disciplined attack of familiar standards and Kenton originals, their youthful vigor and fresh approach, and especially Shorty’s writing, that have helped this Kenton band come closer to modern jazz than any previous Kenton band, as close as almost any big band has come to absorbing the bop and post-bop developments brought about by small groups, and yet retaining its own individual flavor. And although no comparative sales figures of records are available to METRONOME, it seems unlikely too that most staunch Kenton fans would agree with Stan’s choice.

Why his belief in his concert orchestra’s contribution to jazz is so strong is as mysterious as his feeling is real. Right now strings are a commercial gimmick, and while the writing for and playing of Stan’s sections is hardly on a level with the saccharine efforts that have recently jumped from accompaniments for singers to backgrounds for jazz instrumentalists, strings are nevertheless 1951’s strongest commercial angle. The rapid-fire talk that he spouts on the concert stage in explaining the various numbers doesn’t make clear the reasons why he feels that the formal and confining
Innovations scores, not always successful apings of what modern classical composers have done much better, will contribute to the development and recognition of jazz. The chief attraction of jazz for the serious musician and/or listener, whom Stan must surely wish to convince, has been freedom of expression and invention, and the rhythmic feeling that goes with it.

At this point there are two principal obstacles jazz must overcome to prove to those people who shudder when the word is mentioned that it is a serious music: It must prove that not all jazz is loud, that it is still jazz when played at low volume. It must prove that serious jazz musicians are not all weird wild kids whose personal habits affect not only their music but the habits of those other kids who come to listen in wonder and adoration.

Though his recognition of the first obstacle is not obvious, Stan fully realizes at least half the problem. ‘One of the things wrong with music in whatever field is that people have been taught through music appreciation classes that the artist is something of another elevation. He doesn’t belong to their walk of life. They are hesitant about accepting music that is unusual, especially if the musician is unusual. The greatest thing we could do is have all of us who play in the modern idiom prove somehow that musicians are completely normal. Once that happens, interest m a more progressive music becomes an accepted thing.”

One of his current contributions is a transcribed disc show heard over the new Progressive Broadcasting System, a show Stan hesitated to do because of the past flops scored by other bandleaders who tried this kind of thing. He agreed to do it with the proviso that he play only Kenton music ‘because I know more about it. I try to tell all the human interest things about the musicians, the things in their lives that have to do with their profession.” Stan’s major objective, however, is television, a medium in which he has recently taken a keen interest. “I think we’ll wind up doing something on TV. On the radio an orchestra could never do anything; on TV we can play a greater brand of music than we ever could on radio. You see, we’re supported by a minority group, just enough people to support our concerts. We have to excite new interest in the band, encourage the growth of that minority group. If you ask any ten people on any street in any city if they have ever heard of Stan Kenton, only a couple of them will say yes. We have to try to get the other eight. And the only way I can see to do it is to make myself a personality and take the band along.’

Stan has some as yet undisclosed ideas for presenting his band on television. Thus far its most prominent TV appearance has been on
Cavalcade of Bands, on which it was held down by the format of the show and by some accompanying acts which were hardly an expression of the kind of thing Stan would like to see on television. If on a show of his own he can make his musicians seem human to video viewers, make them more interesting than rows of men holding weirdly shaped pieces of metal from which come a series of odd sounds, Stan will have contributed more to the mass recognition of jazz than anyone has yet been able to do.

It is obvious to those two out of ten who know the Kenton name that Stan is already a personality. They have been convinced by his warmth, his charm, and his sincerity that here is a man to whom they should pay attention. Perhaps Stan’s man-in-the-street poll should be taken among that group, to determine whether it is the
Artistry or the Innovations orchestra that Stan should “take along” in his future attempts to snare the eight disbelievers. At the risk of my suffering the fate of George Gallup, it seems safe to predict they’d agree that Stan’s considerable energies would be better spent in the cause of jazz, of Artistry in Rhythm.—BARBARA HODGKINS.
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"Ray Wetzel. 1925-1951." Metronome. November 1951. 33.
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One of jazz’s greatest trumpeters, Ray Wetzel, has blown his last notes, a direct result, ironically enough, of an automobile tire that blew out. The chubby, good-natured, brilliant lead man was playing in Tommy Dorsey’s band and was riding in a car with his wife, Bonnie, Charlie Shavers and one other person, when the car sideswiped a truck and crashed into a bridge near Sedgwick, Colorado. The other occupants were not seriously injured.

Ray was a brilliant musician who had blown for many of the country’s top bands. He debuted into big time during the war in Teddy Powell's band, but he first attracted attention. during his tenures with the bands of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, whose trumpet section he helped spark. He also had played for Charlie Barnet, Ray McKinley and Bobby Sherwood. In addition to playing trumpet, he also sang in a cute, fat man’s style and had been doing some writing and arranging.

Bonnie Wetzel left the band after the accident and is currently working in small groups in New York.
George T Simon. "The Editors Speak. Stan, the Man." Metronome. May 1953. 34.
TWELVE YEARS ago when I was out in California, Dave Hyltone, our former West Coast representative, insisted that I go up, to the Mutual radio station to hear an unknown band. There, for the first time, I heard Stan Kenton's new and startling group. I’d never heard anything like it before, and before I came back East, I heard it several times more, including one all night session at Balboa Beach. It thrilled me and it didn't take a great deal of foresight on my pan to know that it would thrill a great many more people. That's why the first national review the band ever received read in part as follows:

“It’s music, darned good music. More specifically, it's jazz and great jazz at that. For within the Stan Kenton band nestles one of the greatest combinations of rhythm, harmony and melody that's ever been assembled under one leader. (And) Kenton, himself, is chiefly responsible.”
Read full review

That was twelve years ago. How many greater rave reviews have been written about the band since then! And just about every one of them has also pointed out that the reason for the band's greatness is traceable to one man: Stan Kenton!

Now, twelve years later, Capitol Records, for whom Stan has been recording for the last ten years, has decreed this to be "Stan Kenton Month." And we are delighted to devote a few pages of this issue to the recognition of the event, and, more importantly, to further recognition of one of the greatest credits that jazz has ever known. For Stan Kenton is a credit to our profession not only as a great musician, organizer and leader, but also (and perhaps even more importantly) as a great person. It has been my privilege to have know him now for twelve years, and as a human being he hasn’t changed one wit from the time when we had our first long, early morning talk on the long ride back from Balboa Beach until the last time I saw him when his hand was playing at the Rustic Cabin in New Jersey and I wrote a review that incensed some of his ardent admirers.

Which brings me to a point. I have not always approved without reservations of everything that Stan Kenton has done musically. I have at times registered my disapproval in print, though to others, I have always respected his intense efforts to make progress. And at times I have felt a little awkward criticizing his music, because of my respect for him as a musician and as a person. But just because he is such a great person, I have always known that any criticism of his music would be accepted as such and would not be construed as criticism of Stan Kenton, the man.

When it comes to Stan Kenton, the man, the opinion everyone is unanimous. Ask the thousands of disc jockeys with whom he talked earnestly, honestly, on a refreshing man-to-man basis. Ask his huge legion of fans, whom he never fluffs off, whom he treats as equals. And, most important of all, ask the men who have worked for him, with whom he travels in the same bus, with whom he lives in the same hotels, with whom he has never raised the leader-musician social barrier customarily in use within name bands. I'm sure all of them are just as proud and delighted as I am this month to salute Stan Kenton, one of the real credits, one of the realest human beings any of us has ever been privileged to know.
"Music USA. Kentonia." Metronome. December 1953. 6.
Stan Kenton, in New York to do NBC's Saturday Night Dancing Party, reported business good on the road, with the reception of his new band enthusiastic. However, Stan was not completely satisfied with the music and following his TV show made four changes, with Stan Levey coming in on drums and Frankie Rosselini [sic] added to the trombone quintet, where he'll be featured. All the new stuff is being written by Johnny Richards, who's also acting as the band’s manager, but who plans to settle down in New York shortly.
Howard Lucraft. "Eleven Brass in Kenton's 1954 Touring Orchestra." Metronome. November 1954. 15.
CALIFORNIA FLASH: Kenton band in rehearsal. Trumpets: Herb Pomeroy and Sam Note (both jazz), Bobby Clark and Johnny Capolo (split lead) and Norman Prentice.

Trombones: Bob Fitzpatrick (lead), Frank Rosolino (jazz), Frank Strong, Kent Larson and Norman Bartold (latter plays bass trombone). Gene Englund, tuba.

Reeds: Lennie Niehaus and Charlie Mariano (altos—split lead), Bill Holman and Jack Montrose (tenors) and baritonist Boots Mussulli (all to blow jazz). Stan at the piano, of course, with guitarist Ralph Blaze, bassist Max Bennett and drummer Mel Lewis. —HOWARD LUCRAFT
George T Simon. "Stan on Records." Metronome. March 1955. 17, 35.
STAN KENTON and his band emerged in an age when bands were going out and singers were coming in; in an age when bands' personal appearances were beginning to mean less and less and singers' phonograph records were beginning to mean more and more; in an age when a personality was beginning to mean more than a musical entity, and when one disc jockey spinning an artist's records could do more for that artist than he, himself, could do on a live radio broadcast.

It was, in other words, the era of the phonograph record and of the personality.

That many top bandleaders would bite the dust was inevitable. Having achieved their acclaim at a time when all they had to do was make great music to be appreciated, they found themselves at a loss to cope with the new set-up that emphasized something “different," like a “different" sound, or a “different" personality. Not only did they have to try to attract and please the general public, but they also had to try to sell themselves and their product to some of the most influential musical illiterates of all time, the average disc jockeys.

That Stan Kenton did not bite the dust, despite all these obstacles, is one of the most telling tributes to a man who has already won acclaim on all sorts of other counts. For Stan and his band emerged as something more than a musical entity; they emerged as a definite musical personality which captured the fancies of a good portion of the general public and the general disc jockeys.

From the very start, Stan and his music were easily identifiable. From the first blowings of his Balboa band, with its staccato-like, delayed-action rhythmic attack, through its most popular days with the deep trombones and the high trumpets, and onto its most progressive attempts of all, with its striking dissonances and complex rhythms, it was always easy for the listener to say immediately “that's Stan Kenton!” It made no difference whether the remark was accompanied by a feeling of delight or dismay—it still was, no matter what anybody happened to think of the quality of the music, definitely Stan Kenton.

The one person who appeared to enjoy Stan Kenton's music more than anybody else did was Stan Kenton, himself. The volatile enthusiasm that reflected the healthy belief in what he was doing was apparent wherever he went. He, himself, convinced as many disc jockeys as did his music that here was something worthwhile, something that was truly great and dynamic American music. For coupled with this enthusiasm was a sincerity that just would not be denied.

This enthusiasm and sincerity reflected itself in the great majority of his records. The message that Kenton tried to send out on wax was different from that of other recording performers. Most of theirs were basically messages of hope—the hope of making a lot of money. Stan's message was more of faith—a faith that he has in his music and in the ability of his listeners to accept his musical message. Other recording artists might fire at will, hoping that their widely scattered shots might somehow or other hit the bull's eye. With Kenton it was more a matter of a concerted onslaught in the same direction. with little deviation from the single, ultimate aim. While others fought battles. Stan Kenton was waging a war!

There were, to be sure, occasional forays not directed toward the over-all goal. The band did try its hand at pops and at straight, commercial versions of standards. But these were neither successful nor ever closely identified with Stan Kenton. They were simply misdirected and wasted by-products.

What it took Kenton and Capitol some time to realize was that this sort of music cannot be subjected to the same approach as that used on single records. The latter come under the “quick hit” classification. The whole approach to them is short-term. It hits or it misses. and no matter which, it will be forgotten a few months later.

Kenton on the other hand comes under the "packaged goods" classification. Basically, this means albums, or LPs or EPs, or whatever you want to call a collection of similar recordings. And the creation of an album requires much thought—not the usual gambling that passes as thought among many artists and repertoire men—but, instead, careful and intelligent planning in an attempt to create and produce an attractive musical package that has something to say and which carries a musical message that will have at least a semblance of longevity.

More and more it is this sort of a tack that Kenton is taking on records—packages such as This Modern World, City of Glass, Innovations in Modern Music, Stan Kenton Presents, New Concepts, even his early Artistry in Rhythm, and, of course his latest, The Kenton Era.

The relationship of what Stan is doing and what dance bands used to do when they concentrated almost solely upon single record releases, is a good deal analogous to the personal appearances of the respective types of groups. Dance bands used to play for the minute, so to speak. Each number was a complete whole, and when its three or so minutes were over, applause (or nothing) followed, after which the band would start off on an entirely unrelated second selection. With Kenton , and other organizations that emphasize concert rather than dance date performances, it's different. They play for the hour, or the two hours, rather than for the minute, or the three minutes, and consequently they depend more on a program approach, which is the equivalent of the package approach on phonograph records. All this requires a definite musical philosophy as exemplified by a consistent sort of behavior pattern aimed, to repeat, at one definite goal.

In another section of this issue, Stan has expatiated at some length on this philosophy of his. it to say at this point that no matter how strongly he believed in himself and what he was doing, and how successful he was in attaining his musical goals and in convincing people, in addition, by his personal magnetism, Kenton would never have achieved the success he enjoys if he were not a natural born leader of men. That such is exactly the case is attested to by Capitol's having appointed him an executive in the company, one of the rare occasions when a business organization has thus honored a musical figure.

To those who have worked closely with him, such a reward does not come as a surprise. Stan has for many years displayed his executive abilities. He has not only built an organization from the ground up, but he has kept alive in it a spirit of loyalty that is one of the most refreshing and thrilling phenomena of the entire music world. For Stan Kenton has distinguished himself as a great organizer, a great crusader, a great executive and, what is probably most important of all, great human being. To the general masses he will be remembered in years to come by his grand array of recorded music, but to those who have been privileged to work with him, he will be remembered, with much warmth and gratitude, for a great deal more.
Barry Ulanov. "Stan, the Man." Metronome. March 1955. 14-15, 34-35.
IT TAKES less hemming and hawing to get into a conversation with Stan Kenton than with anybody else in the jazz world. I mean, you get right to the point. No nonsense about the weather. Politeness is parked outside with the guns. Here, where-ever you are with Stan, there are men working. That goes for a Broadway restaurant, say at suppertime, or a bus taking the Kenton band to play a one-nighter or to a military base, or a dressing-room back- stage at a theatre or night club. Even in the five-minute snatches between numbers at a rehearsal, in the harsh light of a naked bulb on a half-cleaned night-club floor, with the agitation of brass not quite making it and a missing saxophonist and where the hell is that guitar part? Even then, with five minutes at a time, no more, the five minutes count. Stan says something and it's provocative and you have something to say and you hope it's half as stimulating and off you go.

Stan's directness will be legendary in the jazz world. It will stand just as tall as he does in the annals of the several eras that will be Kenton, that have been Kenton. He's one of the few men I've ever known who can begin a sentence, “Frankly—," and then go on to say something really candid. It's not that he wears his heart on his sleeve; it's music—all over, inside and out, all the time, no matter what the subject. His bands haven't always had a beat, but he has: his is a swinging personality. In him, you can see and hear the colors of jazz as surely as in a growling trumpeter or a cooling tenor. This, it seems to me, is the story of Stan Kenton, the importance of Stan Kenton, the contribution of Stan Kenton, far more than any one record or in-person performance of the band, much more than a style or a series of styles that we associate with his name.

Stan breathes confidence, not self-confidence, but confidence in music, in jazz. He's sure, he knows, that jazz is really all that important. That's what made him his success and jazz's with him, not the searing noises of the band of the late 'forties, not the simple catchy riffs of the years just before, not the mixture of tenderness and simplicity and self-conscious experiment of the years just afterward. Conviction, his conviction, is the center of Kenton jazz and it sells because he is sold. That's why, for me anyway, no Kenton record can ever capture the vitality of the Kenton band, and no Kenton band by itself, without Stan, can begin to communicate the power which is its leader's. It doesn't much matter how he plays or what he plays or whether or not he plays, just as long as he's there, waving his hands in front of the musicians, letting them know and letting you know what he's all about and how much he wants to get that across in the music. He says, “Listen, fellows,” and there's nothing lisping about it—they listen and you enjoy it just as they do.

I guess I've heard my share of gripes about Stan. But much, much more I've heard the praise. Musicians coming off the Kenton band, for whatever reason, are full of the vitality, the push and power and magic, of playing for Stan. They've felt it; some have understood it; the best are in a sense re-made by it.

It's not just a matter of having a reputation made playing for Stan, though there's some of that, too. It's more the personality that's molded as a result. Look at the current lot of West Coast modernists—how many of them are Kenton alumni! Without Stan, I'm convinced, the brilliant revival of jazz in and around L.A. would never have occurred. From his band, from his influence, came Shorty Rogers and Milt Bernhardt and Shelly Manne and Bob Cooper and Howard Rumsey and Laurindo Almeida—the list is long and impressive. But it isn't the fact that first-rate musicians who once played for Stan are the largest single block in the avenues of West Coast modern; it's that they are the thinkers, most of them, in the movement, the dynamos, the power-supply, or much of the voltage anyway. Charged by their stay with Stan, they've remained to take charge. It's contagious, wonderfully, happily contagious.

This is why it's the Kenton era, as others have been Goodman and Ellington and Henderson eras. As Benny, in his own curious way gave courage to Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa and Harry James and Ziggy Elman and Lionel Hampton and made their contributions as soloists and leaders inevitable; as Duke infused with his special kind of jazz wisdom Johnny Hodges and Cootie Williams and Lawrence Brown and Ben Webster and Al Sears and Herb Jeffries; as Smack lent some of his stature to Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter and Louis Armstrong and Rex Stewart—in just such a way, Stan has informed his musicians.

All of which makes it so particularly fitting that he should have a branch label of his own—“Kenton Presents.” That's the special pride he's always taken, in presenting others. “That's the special way he's always presented himself.

I don't always agree with Stan's taste in modern music. It seems to me that maybe there's too much Schillinger in his Innovations library and not enough Schonberg, or perhaps not enough of the heart of either, Schillinger or Schonberg—they both had hearts, after all, the mechanical theory of the one, the academic formulations of the other. But that doesn't matter half as much as the impetus Stan has given experiment and daring and large-scale ideas in jazz. A number of us have dreamed about the possibilities of twelve-tone ideas in a jazz setting and a handful of jazzmen have employed such ideas felicitously, but it remained for Stan to dramatize the idea itself, to let the public in, to convince possibly thousands that there was nothing necessarily alien about atonality or related developments, to make concert halls full of enthusiastic people sit still while strings and reeds and brass slithered and gulped and coughed their way through the strange sounds of a music born in Vienna and a music born in New Orleans, two musics which should never in the ordinary course of events have met and found each other to their liking but did. For his leaping of the barriers, thee, for this alone, I should want to celebrate the achievement of Stan Kenton.

This, and more. Cooperation, the disc jockeys will tell you and the night-club operators and those who run the stores where they sell instruments and music and records. Spectacular cooperation. Whoever ran so enthusiastically from stage door to studio to store as Stan did and does? And in back of or in front, threading its way through every interview and speech and exchange with the professionals and the amateurs, the fans and the musicians and the fringe-area industry, jazz itself, how good it is and how true and how beautiful and let's not be afraid of it and let's support it, for it's ours and a richly talented son to have however gawky and gangling and out of sorts it may appear at times. Maybe the right way to describe the product Capitol has rolled up in eight twelve-inch LP sides and packaged so handsomely is not “The Kenton Era” but “The Kenton Message.” Stan is one of the few men I know who would not be embarrassed to have what he does and says and leads called a message. He's just about the only one from I'm not embarrassed to receive a message. I'll sign for this one.
Bob Allison. "Stan's Friends Speak Out." Metronome. March 1955. 19, 24.
IF YOU were to apply the accepted business standards to Stan Kenton, you'd probably come to the ultimate conclusion that he is one of the leading contenders for the title, “the world's worst business man.” And I’ll have to admit that for a couple of years after I joined Stan in 1947 I would have agreed. Now, I'm sure I was wrong. In fact, I'm gradually becoming convinced that he's one of the best.

Of course, as the guy who is responsible for the state of the bank balance, I may still tear my hair out when one of Stan's frequent acts of generosity looks like it's going to wreak havoc with the finances. And I still occasionally feel called upon to kick up a fuss when he allows everybody and his pet poodle to take up huge quantities of his time. After all, time is a precious commodity to an artist, and I feel that there must be plenty left over for his own creative thinking.

But then I am forced to realize that this very characteristic which makes my job frustrating at times in reality makes it easier. There is little problem getting together businesswise when the man you represent is widely known as one of the most honest and most fair individuals in the music business. I remember one promoter who actually cried when Stan offered to adjust the guarantee because bad weather had kept people away from the elate.

Stan has a few other traits that might be frowned on in the school of high finance. For instance, he has never asked for a contract with any of the various artists and soloists who have been with the band, even though he has spent a great deal of time and energy in promoting and publicizing them. He feels that when they are ready Lo go out on their own, there should be nothing in their way to hamper their career. In fact, with those in whom he believes, he continues with his promotional campaign, long after their departure from the band.

But even the accountants have a name for that thing into which Stan invests so much money and time. They call it "good will." As Stan puts it, "I don't care what it costs, if we've got the dough and it's good for the band, let's do it." What- ever you call it, Stan has it. And I see it paying off when I deal with people in the business, when I look at royalty statements and when I examine box office receipts. Funny part of it is, I'm sure that Stan doesn't look at it that way at all. He just wants to do what's right. I'm afraid this is beginning to sound like an “in honorium” oration, but that's the way it is. When we came back from our European tour, Stan and I were riding in a taxicab shortly after we landed. I had just taken a look at the books and realized that we hadn't come out as well as I'd expected, in spite of the fact that I felt we'd gone over with a very good deal. After a long silence, I looked over at Stan and said, “You're a jerk.” Stan reacted in typical Kentonian fashion. He laughed.

"What did I do now?" he asked.

“Well," I replied, “we started out with a good deal. So then you pick up the tab for everyone across the continent, lend never-to-be-returned dough for camera equipment and assorted plunder and last but by far not least, foot the bill for transportation home when G.I. transportation didn't materialize much to the gratification of our European promoter.”

"Don't worry about it," he says, "we made a lot of friends and we'll be going back before long."

Well, Stan may or may not know this, but I intend to see to it that he cashes in on all that good will next trip. I will, that is, unless Stan finds some other way to make another investment in good will. In that case, we'll do it trip-after-next.
Lee Gillette. "Stan's Friends Speak Out." Metronome. March 1955. 19, 24.
STAN KENTON is Capitol's Number One Goodwill Ambassador. He has done a tremendous job for us all around the world, and here at Capitol he has become more than just another artist; he has become a tradition.

Stan is a tremendous man to work with. He’s different from anyone else I've ever recorded because he is such a perfectionist. He’ll work as long as three hours on a side, but if he's not happy with it, he won't let it be released. I remember once back in 1946 when he spent all afternoon recording some saxophone thing—I even forget what it was called—and then threw it out. But two months later, at the end of a date, he tried again and this time the feel was there and it came out fine.

Stan feels that if what he records rejects no heart then he must reject it. The mood has to be there for him. He wants everything he does to reflect some portion of his soul or of his emotions.

On a date, Stan is strictly a take—charge guy, though when it comes to commercial sides, he will bow to the wishes of the a. and r. department. He always tells us we know more about that than he does. Sometimes I wonder. Though he does take charge by running things from the control room during rehearsals and then actually conducting the takes in the studio, he does bow to wishes of arrangers and especially of composers. He respects talent and he takes pride in performing each composition just as the writer feels it was meant to be performed.

He also shows great respect for his musicians. And it's reciprocated. One time in Chicago the band started to record at two p.m. after coming off the road with no sleep. The session dragged on and on. Stan was willing to call it off so the men could get some rest. But it was the men who wouldn't give up. They recorded right through till seven the next morning because they wanted to give Stan what he was after.

I've never seen a man who can get so much out of his musicians. And he does it without ever yelling at them or bullying them in any way whatsoever. Some people say he's that way because he was a sideman, himself, once. But so were many other bandleaders who are NOT that way. No, Stan Kenton is that way only because he is Stan Kenton. There is no greater description that I can give you and no greater compliment that I can pay him.
Pete Rugolo. "Stan's Friends Speak Out." Metronome. March 1955. 19, 24.
I GUESS that an arranger’s idea of paradise is some place where he can write anything he wants and still manage to make a living. That's why I felt like I was walking through the pearly gates when, fresh from the army, I went to work with Stan Kenton. Not only could I arrange the way I wanted to, but I could even compose originals and know they'd be heard. To make the situation even more unbelievable, Stan never said “don't do it this way” or “do it that way.” He was willing to try anything as long as he felt the writer really meant what he was saying.

Of course, there were a few minor differences of opinion. But so far as I know, Stan never arbitrarily threw anything out. It was always tried. Then he would sit down and talk it over again. By this time it wasn't hard to get back together on our thinking.

For some reason, when you work with Stan, you always want to do your very best. I guess just about everybody who has worked with him feels the same way. He seems to have a genius for making people want to put forth their best efforts. He provides the inspiration and enthusiasm which somehow makes your imagination more fertile.

During my five years with the band, we used to sit down and try to figure out what we would do next. Pretty soon we'd be kicking ideas back and forth. When we hit on an idea which appealed to Stan, you could see his enthusiasm mount. By the time I left one of those conferences I was sure that this project would be the best thing I'd ever done.

Which brings us to another of Stan's great talents—his taste and discrimination. Never, to my knowledge, has Stan ever performed a piece of music just to be “different.” He never deliberately set out to drop bombs. Although much of Stan’s music has been controversial, I sincerely believe that it was done in spite of controversy—not to cause it. During our association, every idea, everything we wrote was done because that was how we felt.

Being a very open-minded person, Stan's tastes changed constantly. He felt that new things were required, but that these things must be governed by standards of imagination, inventiveness and progress. When Stan has confidence in the talent of an arranger or composer and feels that he has a sympathetic understanding, he backs him to the hilt. Naturally Stan reserves the right to accept or reject any piece of work. After all, he is responsible for maintaining a musical standard. But his open mind gives the arranger the widest possible latitude and leaves the door open for imagination, expansion, new sounds and new approaches to music.

From a personal standpoint, Stan Kenton is the greatest thing that could have happened to Pete Rugulo [
sic]. He made it possible for me to build a name as a composer and arranger. Even more important, he gave me the chance to write and develop my own musical thoughts.

I also feel that Stan is one of the best things that has happened to the music business in general and jazz in particular. His band has been a breeding place for musicians and arrangers. His influence on jazz has been tremendous. His honesty and integrity could well provide an example for the entire business. And now that he is busy discovering and producing jazz talent for Capitol, I'm sure his sphere of influence will be broadened even further.

Although I have certainly enjoyed my work with Columbia and the other things I've done since leaving Stan in 1950, every once in a while I look back on those days with nostalgia and a little longing. It sure was nice to be unfettered by thoughts of commerciality, gimmicks and sales figures.

But like Stan says, nothing can stand still. Pete Rugulo can’t—and you can bet your best jazz recording that Stan Kenton won’t.
Howard Lucraft. "Stan Lends a Hand to a New Group Called Jazz International." Metronome. March 1955. 21, 32.
JAZZ INTERNATIONAL was really started by a “buzz’' bomb.

It was a cold windy night in s December in wartime London. As Corporal Lucraft of the Royal Air Force l was leading the band at the weekly dance of the famous Wings Club for allied airmen.

Suddenly a Jerry bomb blew out (a) the lights (b) the windows and (c) the tubes in my electric guitar amplifier. The resultant icy blast blew dancers and band into the bar below.

There, over pints of mild and bitter, two American, a Pole, a free Frenchman and this English bloke engaged in an avid discussion on the future of jazz. The wind, the windows, the war and the world were forgotten.

As we drank a toast to “this new art, born and bred in the free New World" l became acutely conscious of the potential power of the international interest in jazz.

“After the war,” l vowed to my companions, “I'll start an organization to link jazz devotees and musicians everywhere.”

Come 1946, pressure of work with my band at the British Broadcasting Corporation, and the ideal was temporarily forgotten.

Then, in 1950, l emigrated to the United States, became friendly with Stan Kenton and, in 1953, traveled with the Kenton orchestra on its fabulously successful tour of Europe. From Sweden to Switzerland, from Italy to Ireland, the Kenton brand of jazz coupled with Stan's personal magnetism were acclaimed everywhere as the greatest ambassadors for international friendship and goodwill.

And at jam sessions in defeated Germany, jazz musicians from Berlin and Boston, Bremen and Baltimore, found a common language and mental meeting place in the harmonies of
How High the Moon.

In 1943, at the Berlin Sports Palast, the organized roars of thousands punctuated a Hitler speech as he ranted about “the decadent American culture.” From the very same podium, a decade later, Kenton was greeted with louder, freer and happier cheers as he announced “a great force in jazz—someone you all know about—Miss June Christy.”

Watching more than 14,000 Berliners there listening enraptured to Kenton's music, I realized that Stan was the ideal man to launch the international federation. He was admired and respected by all, from the youngest fan to the oldest music publisher. He has a dynamic drive and is indefatigable in his singleness of purpose. All his thinking is fresh, original and progressive, and he's completely sincere and unselfish in his love for jazz.

I told Stanley about my aspirations for a world-wide jazz organization.

"Howard," he said, ''I've had exactly the same idea almost as long as you have."

So, after more than a year of planning, Jazz International is here. Stan Kenton is sponsor. I'm managing director.

Jazz International has two primary aims.

First is to enroll as members all jazz enthusiasts and supporters throughout the world and give them (a) a voice and influence in jazz and an exchange of ideas with musicians and fellow connoisseurs, and (b) the opportunity to obtain news, views and photographs of the great jazz men plus exclusive recordings and jazz literature. Eventually, we expect to affiliate district chapters and jazz clubs wherein members meet together local!y for the enjoyment and study of jazz. Included in the ultimate aspirations of J.I. are competitions for arrangers and
composers, scholarships and the establishment of regional and
international headquarters buildings.

Second facet of Jazz International is promotional. Already
The jazz International Show is featured world wide on the Armed Forces Radio network. And the jazz International Swing Session spot over 500,000 watt Radio Luxembourg can be heard from John O' Groats to Moscow. Further radio programs are now being planned . A TV idea is being explored.

Future projects include local composers' concerts, full national and then international jazz festivals, plus a special film series. In short, we're hoping to make Jazz International the vital driving force in the world for the progress and development of jazz.

Although Jazz International is sponsored by Stan Kenton it is definitely NOT, of course, in any way, for Kenton supporters only. It is equally for enthusiasts and supporters of any and all good jazz.

By joining now, applicant can become Charter Members. We'll be most happy to send full information and membership application blank on receipt of a letter or postal card to: Jazz International, P.O. Box 1616, Hollywood 28, California.
Bill Coss. "Stan and His Fans." Metronome. March 1955. 25, 34.
IN NOME, Alaska, there is (or was in 1944) a bar on the first floor of a white, frame house. Called Mae's and run by the original Mae, now an old lady but once a fabled and much-in-demand, much courted lady of the gold rush days, it serves as a social meeting house for civilians, army personnel and Eskimo belles, a conglomeration of dancing couples and intent drinkers. In 1946 it rocked mightily and nightly to the two most played tunes on its juke box—Stan Kenton's Tampico and Southern Scandal.

In Drummond, Montana in 1949, a town of about twenty buildings and almost that number of swinging-door saloons, where cowboys, who ride the ranges in jeeps, seek their evening entertainment at felt-covered tables and curved-topped bars, there was one saloon with nineteen western songs, in its maws. The twentieth—Stan Kenton's
Peanut Vendor.

And such occurrences can be countlessly duplicated in all sections of this country; in almost every section of the world. Stan Kenton, more than any other musician, is a seven league giant, spanning nations and musical prejudices, reaching audiences that have never before been reached by anything approaching jazz.

Until 1950 I had worked on no magazine of any kind. Perhaps I listened to music with more awareness than the average listener because of my professional concern with music, but I had little of the almost self-conscious awareness of the working critic. I had, by that time, lived through four phases of Kentonia (the Balboa Beach band, a kind of in-between Swing band, the Artistry orchestra and the band of progressive jazz) and was in the middle of his Innovations period. And I can remember those non-critical days with accuracy.

Balboa Beach meant such arrangements as
Balboa Bash and Southern Scandal, the up-up-up-up-up sound that was the identifying mark of that band with Stan's piano appealing more than at any time since because of the simple Earl Hines tradition that it espoused. It was a loud and brash band, as loud and brash at the times (1940-1942) and it was satisfying if for that reason alone.

But it was the 1943-1944 edition of Kenton which I liked, the one which worked during the times called
Growing Pains by writer Bud Freeman in the wonderful Kenton history which accompanies the Kenton Era album. This is the Kenton band which really swung, partly because or its arrangers and partly because it was one of the few Kenton bands which was stocked with swinging soloists. This was especially so when trumpeter John Carroll joined the band and when Ray Borden led the trumpet section (he's now a shoe-salesman in Kansas City after a series of unsuccessful although interesting experiments with a modern band in Boston). It was even more so when the lighter-toned Red Dorris played the tenor solos instead of Dave Matthews, and when arrangers Joe Rizzo and Charlie Shirley began arranging for the band. (You can hear a happy combination of all these talents, Rizzo excepted, in Shirley's arrangement of Liza in the new album, easily its most swinging side.)
There was something exhilarating about this band, about the soloists, singers Dolly Mitchell and Anita O'Day (whose style was still young and fresh then) and the rhythm section. Rugolo was just beginning his career, Joe Rizzo was concerned with the beat and Charlie Shirley was even more concerned with it, having just finished an apprenticeship with the rough but ready Sam Donahue band.

Artistry band (1945-1946) kept some of that spirit. Ray Wetzel had joined the trumpet section, but John Carroll had left. Kai Winding set the trombone sound of the band for years to come. Vido Musso had replaced Reel Dorris and his sound with a heavier, less swinging tenor. Boots Mussilli's alto was less moving than that of Eddie Meyers. Pete Rugolo had begun his long string of Impressionistic compositions (Willow Weep for Me). l7or me, the band had slowed clown. The Kenton arms were still rampant, but the field seemed more pocked with signboards.

But Kenton had become a national figure by 1945. Shirley Luster (June Christy), a sometimes more polished but always less exciting version of Anita, had become an important member of the band and a Rugolo-coached vocal group, The Pastels, had entered the scene, a scene which ended in 1946 with Stan's closing shop for a rest.

Progressive jazz Kenton phase (1947-1948) was mostly of Pete Rugolo's making—Ken Hanna (who last year demonstrated his considerable talents in an album for Trend Records), Gene Roland and others, too—but mostly Pete. It was a reworked Artistry band, more intense, more concerned with contemporary "classical" music and less concerned with jazz. Barry and I went to the same Carnegie Concert, although we didn't know each other at the time, and I agreed then with his review which criticized the band's mechanically contrived, familiar sounds from bongo to Bartok. For me, Stan was way out, not in jazz but in some conglomeration of early 20th century “classical" music superimposed on a heavy beat. Obviously, then, the Innovation period found me disenchanted with what seemed an excess of what had come before. Bud Freeman describes the creativity of this period as representing our “fluorescent environment.” Unfortunately the representation was too often photographic (in a musical sense) rather than reflective. And that, for me, was the artistic flaw.

Today Stan has three books for his band: one for dancing, another for what he calls Progressive jazz and a third for In- novations, all three books constantly enlarged. The band with which he has made the night-club rounds in the last two years is in the second category. With arrangements by Gerry Mulligan and Bill Holman, among others, with sidemen like Zoot Sims and Bill Holman, it has begun to swing for the first time in years, although even now with a heaviness that is not altogether pleasing. And this is due, quite simply, to the fact that Stan needs more musicians like Zoot, musicians who are close to the basic facts of jazz, from which he has gone quite far away. Stan has a great deal of conviction in his music, but there is little conviction in the music itself, and the story of jazz has always been one of conviction, however misguided that story has been from time to time.

It might seem strange in the face of this adverse criticism that I have a great deal of admiration for Kenton, that I believe his importance to be almost unrivaled in jazz. My own evaluation is close to the one which he seems to have of himself. He is far more important than any music he has written or played. Through the sheer force of his personality he has sold jazz to the most square disc jockey, to ballroom owners, record companies, Eskimos and cowboys. He has charmed noisy, impatient customers into intent listeners because he has invited them to take part in a musical adventure which he has described before- hand and in terms that they can understand. And in doing this he has provided encouragement, a place to experiment and a living for at least a half-hundred exceptional musicians, rallying a host of admirers and customers to their future experiments. He has made the way easier for everyone who plays our music. That is a mark of greatness which few men can claim.
"Music USA. Kenton to Person." Metronome. June 1955. 5.
There is an old saying among the Ko-Ko Indians that a band on television is worth two on the road, which, we suppose, should be some consolation to those jazz followers who are not completely overwhelmed by the fact that Stan Kenton et al are to be the Summer replacement for the Ed Murrow, Person to Person show, beginning the first Friday in July.

In any case, the golden era of jazz, which some, not without some cause, have identified with the Kenton era, seems to be full upon us, at least as far as artist to audience communication on mass media is concerned. Stan's show, added to the Gleason replacement band show, the McKinley show, Steve Allen's frequent contributions, etc., adds up to a fantastic amount of television time, fantastic, at least in terms of what has been available of late.

Stan's band shapes up like this at press-time: Louie Bellson, Sal Salvador and bassist Chet Amsterdam; saxophonists Vinnie Dean, Dave Shildkraut, Al Cohn, Bunny Bardach (an old-time, old-style studio musician) and Danny Bank; trombonists Sonny Russo, Eddie Bert, Bob Asher, Harry DeVito and Lee Margoli; trumpeters Al Porcino, Nick Travis, Jimmy Nottingham, Ernie Royal and Al DeRisi. Gil Fuller will do the arranging for the band. Up to the rafters in soloists, and with sections deep in technical facility and strength, this should be a band to which to look and listen.
"The Disc Jockeys. Interviews with Stan Kenton." Metronome. August 1957: 14-5
Stan Kenton, as one of the most controversial figures in modern jazz, has long been a favorite for any kind of comments by persons in the industry. In the unusual article which follows, two highly perceptive Iowa University disc jockeys look at Kenton.

LEAMING: Sometimes the whole history of jazz might be summed up by any two people telling each other what they just missed. "There aren't any records by that old cat, so nobody will ever know how good he was," one will say, and the other answers, "Take the Kenton concert the other night, the first one was good, but you should have heard what happened after you left.”

On Tuesday, June 4th, Phil Devin and I had our regular broadcast scheduled; then we tore it out when the Capitol representative told him there was a chance of getting an interview. Phil's
Today's Music comes on half an hour before Progressions, and there was the possibility that Stan would miss the first half, arriving just when we had to read from the' tightly-timed script. So Devin went through "frantic spasms" all day. As it turned out, we had a taped interview the next evening, but Kenton never showed up. Devin played The Kenton Era, and, since it lasts four and a half hours, we were never hung far material. Devin, here kept making things up, like, "Stan's eating a sandwich at the Union and will be here soon," or, perhaps, "Stan's changing his underwear," and, finally, "Looks like The Man won't make it.'' I think he made up most of those bulletins.

DEVIN: We had the Capitol agent in for a talk, and the head of the concert committee, so we discussed the problems of putting on concerts. At, least we knew Kenton had arrived. When Duke was supposed to come, both times he showed up at ten o'clock when all the women had to be back in the dormitories. Duke won't be invited back again, ever. If he was just trying to weed out the Summer soldiers, it's going to work against him some day. Some night he'll show up and nobody will be there at all.

LEAMING: Devin claims that most people become addicted to the coffee and the atmosphere at the Ames Memorial Union. You can't live on atmosphere. We drank black coffee made of Des Moines Cleaner, and ate egg salad sandwiches. At 6:45 we boarded an elevator for the main floor, since under some circumstances the Union cafeteria is considered as "the basement." We spent most of our time going up and down with the door refusing to open, since some idiot in the basement kept pressing the button. We'd end up back in the basement. We spent more time going up and down than we ever traveled sideways.

The curtains opened, there was Kenton. The first flashbulb I fired went sailing across the floor, red-hot, and landed at his feet. Kenton looked down and commented, "Was that a test or the real thing?”

Lennie Niehaus warmed up on
Peanut Vendor, grinning at the unison trumpet passage, sounding so much like the Russian Czarist one-note bands, mentioned by Kierkegaard as an example of conspicuous waste (water glasses filled to varying levels and struck at random by the leader's mallet).

At the end of it, Stan fell over the microphone cable and upset the bass player's staffs, and then Bill Perkins played a wonderfully muted solo on
Yesterdays. Finally, Stan said, "Mother, come out, please," and a girl in toreador pants with a big silver buckle marched out, bowed and swaggered into the wings, while the band played appropriate music suggestive of Salome.

DEVIN: I had a long talk with Stan, then, during the breather. And, by the way, you hit the wrong concert. The second one was similar to the first in tunes only. All of the solos were a bit brighter, and Perk really glowed on his two, such as My Old Flame. Lennie blew his usual fantastic self, and come to find out, he was playing Bill's alto! You could tell he was careful of the lower register. Stan said that the young drummer was 21, but since he had to be 21 to blow around with a band like that, I imagine he was forced to say that. Stan says he's the youngest man ever to come with the band. I listened to a pre-release of his new album–Stan With Voices. It features Ann Richards (Mrs. Kenton) and a group that is a cross between the Four Freshmen and the Hi-I.o's.

This band has been playing together for less than one week, making the big ballrooms and clubs like Birdland and the Blue Note. Money won't allow any big try at progressive innovations, as before. He said that it would be just as hard now as it was in '49 and '50. 'He cited Dizzy's recent comments this month. They hit home, and are significant. Then Stan came over to the studio and made three separate films and tapes, including a live appearance on the Red Dash TV show.

LEAMING: It was kind of dull. The finish on Lennie's alto, I mean, which should have clued me that it belonged to someone else who hadn't played it recently; sort of a thin film-like glass wax. I am always infuriated when an altoist gets less applause than a tenor, and Lennie's never a flag-waver. Perk, just as good a man musically, gets more because he looks like he's working, with his neck a many-splendored thing and his shoes flapping on the floor boards. Niehaus reminds of an Oriental detective who is about to say, through lowered eyelids, "you made one fatal mistake, Waldo.". He would just brush his coat collar if all the plaster, or the ceiling itself, fell on him, then look up and mutter, "well, well." Once I saw him roll up Perk's sleeve, and glance at his wrist-watch, blowing a tone with his left hand off and his right hand in the lower registers, propping himself up on the seat with his right elbow, at that peculiar Lesterish angle.

On my first interview, I cornered Stan outside the rest room, hung up again on that elevator, with the fool in the cafeteria still punching the ground floor button. Stan looked harried and a little tired, and kept saying, "what's your name again?" trying to sort out in his mind all the people on campus he had met. I remember the last line you threw at him on tape, and his answer. See Devin said, "We're switching over gradually, Stan, and we appreciate people the likes of you who are still on the scene." He answered, "Believe me, I appreciate guys like you," with immense, honest ego.

He was worried by my question. He had an answer eventually, but suspected it was loaded. I reminded him of his original concept of three books: light pops, modern and advanced experimental…or, one might personalize it historically: Russo to Johnny Richards to Bob Graettinger…now he has abandoned the idea, modifying all three into one concert program. I asked him if this was intentional.

DEVIN: I asked the same questions on tape. The new record has tunes that are all old Kenton favorites, and they are a treat to the ears. Stan gave me no reason for the lack of another sax in the band, the present band. We should mention Richard Vogl, our station manager, who gave me the leeway to promote it. Dick was on a two weeks' fishing trip, but you can convince him, though, that jazz is as important in a complete education as any other form of music. After all, WOI is an educational station.

LEAMING: So we got a small education, with the usual evasive answers. Devin asked, "Who you you think is doing the most creative work today, carrying on what you started?”

"I would really hate to have to single out one group," Stan mumbled, "There are so many.”

Then back to my question: Is there an audience developing that will appreciate all three books without putting it in categories?

"Do you mean," he countered, "is our quality going down because we have the popular music back in, or are we modifying the experimental too much? I don't know. I'm not of the opinion that an audience enjoys all three.

"We will probably never be able to go back on the road again with the large group, the symphonic group with violins and all that. It just doesn't pay for itself. But I would like to be subsidized by a network…have a television thing going…so that we could try it. Sure, I thought
Sunset Tower would make it on the popular radio shows, and it didn't. I really thought that one would be it. As for the experimental music, most people still run screaming, and the people who listen to our progressive jazz, don't want to hear anything else either.”

DEVIN: Now he's come full circle around again, using West Coast men, as well as Herman men and Herman's voicing.

LEAMING: To a limited extent. The trumpet-trombone section still has the marks,. of Kenton's power and nest-days, when Winding and Candido blended with the composers, Richard, Russo, Mulligan, many others, to get that blasting group sound. Graettinger never had the message, no matter how many violins Kenton added. There was only one who knew how to use the strings as a backfield for his own guttier strings, because it was a racial tradition. Almeida, of course. Only Amazonia, own composition, seemed to use the violins for something other than a lush effect.

Kenton says economic actuality prevents him from using the experimental group again. I don't think this is the real reason. Stan's philosophy has always been as simple as those camp posters you see along the side of the road: "We build better boys." Right now the direction of his road is extrorse, not simply
facing in an outward direction, but in the sense that a botanist uses the phrase: turned away from the axis of growth.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't go to hear a band and I didn't have that sensation as I listened, pulsing as they admittedly are: I went to see Stan and hear Lennie and Perk play, leading the solos with their own hands as i£ this is a triumvirate, not a team led by one coach. Of course, I was spoiled by Count, the Red Grange of jazz. His direction is introrse, turned inward in the direction of growth. Kansas City and the life they understand, even if some of the youngsters never saw K.C. at all. That is why they get by on practically no new material at all. Common memory or environment supplements everything they play.

I told Kenton about the girl at Grinnel College who put Stan's picture on the bulletin board. "What'd they do. draw a mustache on it?" "No, you had a mustache then," I reminded him. "Worse than that. They didn't know who it was." Kenton laughed and winced inwardly at the same drawing of breath. It didn't worry either of us. The highway is a long one. For Stan Kenton, there will always be turnings, wrong roads taken, a laborious retracing of steps. At the moment of writing he has relocated the crossroads, a path he crossed in 1948. Whether he wants to go back to the Balboa Ballroom, whether he has the energy to go forward in a new direction, that is his problem. We aren't worried about him. Stan can read the road signs.
Howard Lucraft. "Jazz Out West. Stan Kenton." Metronome. March 1959. 45
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Kenton’s got himself a happy ebullient band (sorry, Stanley—“orchestra”). It’s a young, well-knit crew that blows strongly with authority and enjoyment.

And the happiest guy in the orchestra is the piano player. “I’m 45 years of age and I feel like I’ve just started in music,” asserts Kenton.

This latest Kenton aggregation, as heard at Gene Norman’s Crescendo on the Hollywood Sunset Strip, has a reed section of two baritones, two tenors and one alto, Lennie Niehaus. There are also two brass [
I assume he means bass–tv] trombones in the five man section.

“I wanted more depth,” Stan explained, “and a tuba doesn’t have the flexibility and fluidity.”

Number one asset of this latest Kenton orchestra is the expressive soloing of trumpet man Jack Sheldon. Sheldon’s warm, emotional playing at the Crescendo seemed to inspire the colder Kenton soloists to more soulful inventiveness.

A further fresh and strong feature of the 1959 Kenton presentation are the brand new Gene Roland arrangements in the book. As always with Roland, they’re free-flowing, melodic and effective. Stan has some new figures, too, in some of the
Artistry period tunes.

Stan still conducts most of the time, but when he sits at the piano and comps, as ever, he seems to add that extra propulsion to his band. And kenton’s warm and effusive personality i still abundantly in evidence to charm the customers.

Kenton’s manager, Bill Allison, added this footnote about Stan’s new band: “Fans and friends of Kenton would all like see a singer again with the orchestra. However, it’s pretty hard to find the right girl now that Anne (Richards) is working as a solo. Real Jazz singers today we find are pretty rare.”–Howard Lucraft
Howard Lucraft. "Stan Kenton's New Sounds." Metronome. July 1960: 24
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Stanley Kenton will burst out in the fall with new sounds and new music. Stan is experimenting with Miriphone, Eb (alto) trumpets: "If they work out and we can get guys to play them, we'll have a four man section. We'll drop one man each from our regular trumpet, trombone and reed sections, making them four men each."

Talking about other instrumentation: "I'm kind of allergic to electric guitar and vibraphone. When I listen to Barney Kessel and Milt Jackson, I'm gassed by what they play, but I don't really dig the sounds of the instruments. The un-amplified guitar is different. That's one of the purest sounds in music."

How about woodwinds in jazz?

"Some of the woodwinds make excellent jazz sounds, but with others it's impossible to make it. Members of the Australian Jazz Quintet will probably disagree, but I've never been affected by any attempt to play jazz on an oboe, English horn or bassoon.

"Besides the clarinet, probably the flute is good for jazz. It can almost get the jazz inflections and feeling possible on a saxophone. You know, going back to the oboe and bassoon for a minute: they're difficult to use with brass sounds, and if you took brass away from us; well, it just wouldn't be us."

Didn't you once say you thought the clarinet sound was too cold for jazz? "No, but I've never really been happy about clarinets. I grew up listening to so many of them. Then, before I had my own orchestra, I played a lot of radio stations. Most of the music was sickening soft and we were forever using clarinets with trumpets in cup mutes. I suppose I kind of got offended by the clarinet sound. Even today I have to listen carefully to the things that Buddy DeFranco plays to appreciate him. But if a new arranger wrote something for us with clarinets I might use it even though we'd probably have quite a scuffle among the reeds if we had to play
anything difficult.”

Why are there so few real jazz singers?

"I think that it's difficult to get a real jazz sound while singing. Instrumentalists can get a sound that's acceptable more easily. But jazz artists are very rare anyway. There aren't many people like Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young with their roots in jazz.

"Many modern musicians dress-up their playing with a lot of technique and harmonic structure. Lots of us come close to a real jazz sound. I hear a lot of new girl singers who are not real jazz singers, but they learn tricks and get close to a jazz sound.”

How about your wife, Ann Richards ?

"Ann is a very talented musician. I expect great things from her. She plays enough piano to know what she's doing. And she reads. That's unique. She has her own individuality. She doesn't sound like Ella or Sarah and she's certainly a long way from Anita and June.

"But you still have to remember that Ann is very young. It takes a jazz singer a long while to develop.”
Howard Lucraft. "Mrs. Kenton's New Careers." Metronome. July 1960: 25
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Ann Richards has returned to the Kenton band: "I left a few years ago because I thought people would think I was only singing with the orchestra because Stanley was my husband. That was hard because singing with the band was what I had always wanted to do and I've been a Kenton fan since I was a freshman in high school.

"I had a boy friend who was a raving Kenton fan. I was so crazy about him that I had to listen to the band just to please him. I went to a record store and bought Jolly . Roger with Evening in Pakistan on the other side. From then on in I was a Kenton fan.” After high school, Ann's mother insisted that she go to college, but she ended up cutting more classes than she attended and she got a job with a band in a San Francisco ballroom. "We had name bands in every once in a while. I had those nights off, but I used to hang around, waiting to sing, hoping that someone would discover me: And that's exactly what happened. Charlie Barnet hired me…You know, our first date was in Anchorage, Alaska."

Ann played Las Vegas with Barnet and then left to work in Hollywood. Then, at a Thanksgiving party, song- writers Joe Greene and Eddie Beale heard her, asked her to make a demonstration record for a bandleader they didn’t name. "When they told me that it was for Kenton, I said, 'Oh, no, he wouldn't like my singing. I don't sound like Christy or Connor. I don't have that wispy sound.’

"But Stanley did like my singing and he hired me for the band. He liked me too, because not long afterward we got married. That's pretty wild for a girl who started singing in church when she was eleven, sang songs like
Come Back to Sorrento on the Old Gold amateur hour radio show and, actually, got most of my training because the lady I babysat for was a singing teacher.

"How about that? I paid for the lessons by baby sitting, and by the time I was fourteen, I was singing with the high school dance bands.

"Now I can sit back a bit. I'm going to take up piano properly. I want to play as well as Jeri Southern and Carmen McRae. I can read music now, but I don't really
play piano. At home I sit down and bang out a lot of dissonant chords. Being married to a dissonant musician, we get along okay.”

Five years and two children after marriage to Stan, Ann has her own career in addition. She has a contract with Capitol Records. She has worked as a solo in top night clubs across the country from Chicago to Hollywood. And, at twenty-four, and more attractive than ever, there is now much talk about the possibility of some kind of picture contract.

In the meantime, and with worries about fans accusing her trading on her husband's leadership, she is, back singing and swinging with the new, growing newer, Kenton band. With everything that is happening, the future glows for the popular Mrs. Kenton.
"Around the World with Metronome. Our Man In Hollywood" Metronome. October 1960. 6.
Count Basie and Stan Kenton go out as a double package on an Irving Feld and Ray Roving tour beginning October 7th.
Mariellen Stallard. "The Jazz Scene. Texas." Metronome. September 1961. 6.
DALLAS—The North Texas Lab Band, perennial first-placers at the Notre Dame Jazz competition, cut an LP of original compositions on local 90th Floor Records label with liner notes by their top fan, Stan Kenton. The record company launches national distribution this fall.
Dan Morgenstern. "The Jazz Scene. New York." Metronome. November 1961. 6.
Stan Kenton’s 23-piece orchestra broke it up at Basin St. East.