Record Reviews

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This Love of Mine / The Nango / Taboo / Adios. December 1941
This Love of Mine (B)
The Nango (B–)
Taboo (B–)
Adios (C+)

The band’s self-conscious. New bands usually are. The material doesn’t help. The saxes, especially Jack Ordean’s alto, aid
Love, which finds a good beat. The saxes, baritone notably, help the reverse. The reeds again, this time with Howard Rumsey’s bass, shine on Taboo. The last side is pretty monotonous with all its anticipated beats and staccato stuff. They say this band’s lots better than these too-stylized records show (Dec.).
"Record Review. This Love of Mine / The Nango / Taboo / Adios." Metronome. December 1941. 15.
Gamblers Blues. July 1942
Gambler’s Blues (B)

A twelve-inch version of
St. James Infirmary, without the usual Kenton vocal. Jack Ordean’s alto and Howard Rumsey’s bass deserve special commendation. The bands kick some of the time; some of the time it also labors too much, giving the impression of not having found itself quite yet (Dec.)
"Record Review. Gamblers Blues." Metronome. July 1942. 14.
Harlem Folk Dance / Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. February 1944
Harlem Folk Dance B
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me B

Strong tenor, open and muted trumpet and alto solos add to the pleasure of the Folk Dance, but the stereotyped Kenton characteristic of Luncefordian anticipations take away the pleasure almost as quickly. Stan’s insistence on the heavy hopping rhythm constricts a perfectly good figuration and set of solos.

The melody of
Do Nothing is accented effectively in a half chorus of vigorous piano, presumably by Stan, which opens this side. Red Dorris, who sings, goes Al Hibbler one better in his underscoring of the piece’s melodrama. Good playing by the band, ensemble, superb recording and the pleasant piano introduction remain the side’s chief attraction (Capitol).
Leonard G Feather and Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Harlem Folk Dance / Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me." Metronome. February 1944. 22-23.
Eager Beaver / Artistry in Rhythm. July 1944
Eager Beaver B+
Artistry In Rhythm A–

Some of the full body and heady flavor of the Stan Kenton band has been captured on this coupling. The
Beaver of Army renown is eager here by way of an engaging little figure with some clever changes. The decisive, rocking Kenton ensemble moves Beaver eagerly along his way after a pleasant piano introduction by Stan, in which his extraordinary mandolin tone is once more audible; pauses for some pushing, effective Red Dorris tenor, and then winds up in a delayed coda, much like the end of In The Mood, but not repeated as naggingly often. Artistry In Rhythm is an exciting excursion into Stan's musical imagination. Based on a theme out of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe, it is, as the subtitle proclaims, a “Production on Theme,” Stan's theme. By way of heavy tom-toms, a piano solo right out of Rachmaninoff's piano concertos, and some good writing for saxes more in the jazz vein, the production is achieved. The writing is, impressive but abortive in just one 10" side; the size of the theme and the mood set thereby demand at least twice as much record space. With some beautifully conceived and articulated piano, however, intriguing writing away from that solo to full band statement, and good playing by the orchestra, this adds up to fine, original music. (Capitol 159)
"Record Review. Eager Beaver / Artistry in Rhythm." Metronome. July 1944. 23.
How Many Hearts Have You Broken / And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine. September 1944
How Many Hearts Have You Broken C+
And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine B—

Not much of the Kenton band’s personality on Hearts, a simple version of a simple old-time melody, and a vocal by Gene Howard. The coupling mark’s Anita O’Day’s recording debut with the band, but it doesn’t mark and milestones. There are a couple of neat ideas in the lyrics, but on the whole this is a pointless, monotonous piece, giving Anita little chance to display the talent that made her many discs with Krupa outstanding. (Capitol 166)
"Record Review. How Many Hearts Have You Broken / And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine." Metronome. September 1944. 20.
Gotta Be Gettin' / Sweet Dreams Sweetheart. December 1944
Grooviest record of the month is' Gettin', a fulsome realization of Anita O'Day's talents as jazz singer, with the band kicking behind her. The middle tempo is well chosen; the voicing of Anita's hum with the horns at the beginning is delightful; the whole thing comes on. On the reverse, Gene Howard sings Sweet Dreams with a sweet potato in his mouth; the spud makes a dud of the side. (Capitol 178)
"Record Review. Gotta Be Gettin' / Sweet Dreams Sweetheart." Metronome. December 1944: 18
Are You Livin' Old Man / Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye. March 1945
Are You Livin' Old Man
Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye C

Anita O'Day and the driving Ken­ton band do beautifully by Redd Evans' amusing song, a hip philosophical inquiry which swings right from the top; at the bottom it kicks with an added boot from some fine O'Day humming. Don't miss it. But you can safely overlook the over leaf; it's nowhere, except, maybe, for eight bars of Stan's eighty-eight, but they don't really compensate for the poor orchestral flourishes, the drab singing of Gene Howard. (Capitol 187.)
"Record Review. Are You Livin' Old Man / Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye." Metronome. March 1945: 19
Tampico / Southern Scandal. August 1945
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Tampico B+
Southern Scandal B

Tampico is a kind of sleeper; its lyric is hip without being heavily mannered and it takes a couple of listenings to savor all of its ironic wit. June Christy, a splendid replacement for Anita O'Day who breaks notes the wav Anita does, carries the vocal very well. If Stan had avoided the glee club cliché, the record would have been even more effective. Scandal is a typical brash Kenton bash, brash and brassy, with able piano by the leader and trombone by Freddie Zito and nothing startlingly out-of-the-way. (Capitol 202)
"Record Review. Tampico / Southern Scandal." Metronome. August 1945. 16.
It's Been a Long, Long Time / Don't Let Me Dream. October 1945
It’s Been a Long, Long Time B
Don’t Let Me Down B–

The best thing about both side a, musically, is the collaboration between Stan at the piano and bassist Ed Safranski. This duo opens both sides. After that, the trite tune,
Time, a surefire juke-box song, is nicely done here, with some pretty sax work and a bright bass accenting of the syncopation back of June Christy's somewhat wobbly vocal. Coupling is the best Gene Howard on records to date, with tasteful · backing and unforced singing but nothing electrifying, unfortunately, about the whole thing. (Capitol219)
"Record Review. It's Been a Long, Long Time / Don't Let Me Dream." Metronome. October 1945: 32
Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin' / Artistry Jumps. January 1946
Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin' A
ArtistryJumps A

These are easily the best recorded sides Stan has made. Instead of the usual pinched, over-loaded sounding brass, there's plenty of room tone and true tonal brilliance. The brass is immense on both sides, with June Christy, Vido Musso and Eddie Safranski starring on the first and Stan's piano and Vido on the second.
Sittin', Duke's tune, rocks at a medium tempo; Artistry is a more frantic version of the Kenton theme. (Capitol 229)
"Record Review. Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin' / Artistry Jumps." Metronome. January 1946: 38
History of Jazz IV. Balboa. January 1946
Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin' A
ArtistryJumps A

These are easily the best recorded sides Stan has made. Instead of the usual pinched, over-loaded sounding brass, there's plenty of room tone and true tonal brilliance. The brass is immense on both sides, with June Christy, Vido Musso and Eddie Safranski starring on the first and Stan's piano and Vido on the second.
Sittin', Duke's tune, rocks at a medium tempo; Artistry is a more frantic version of the Kenton theme. (Capitol 229)
Barry Ulanov, George T Simon, and Leonard G Feather. "Record Reviews. History of Jazz IV. Balboa." Metronome. January 1946. 37-38.
I Been Down in Texas / Shoo Fly Pie. March 1946
I Been Down In Texas B–
Shoo Fly Pie B

These sides certainly aren't worthy of the Kenton band's or Stan's integrity. The first is a lot of novelty singing with Stan putting in an obvious plug for the Lone Star one-nighter trade. The other side gets somewhat of a beat, spots June Christy and strong brass and individual bits by Vido and Ed Safranski. But the tune is on the canine side. (Capitol 235)
"Record Review. I Been Down in Texas / Shoo Fly Pie." Metronome. March 1946: 28
Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days, One Hour Blues / Painted Rhythm. June 1946
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Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days, One Hour Blues B +
Painted Rhythm B+

Stan steals a leaf from the Basie and Ellington books in the
Blues, doubling brass tempo behind June Christy's vocal as in Goin’ to Chicago and I Don't Know What Kind of Blues I Got. The Bob Levinson words are not as good as the title, but the arrangement and band and vocal performance are good enough to maintain interest. Overleaf is a middle tempo blast given anchorage by Stan's piano and Ed Safranski's bass. Solos by Vido Musso and Jimmy Simms on tenor and trombone are hardly startling. (Capitol 250)
"Record Review. Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days, One Hour Blues / Painted Rhythm.” Metronome. June 1946. 24.
Artistry in Boogie / Rika, Jika Jack. September 1946
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Artistry in Boogie
Rika Jika Jack

If the echoing recording doesn't bother you too much, you'll probably get kicks from Eddie Safranski's bass, Vido Musso's tenor and Chico Alvarez's trumpet on the first, which also has some brilliant brass ensembling. The trumpets scream madly and effectively on the miserable tune overleaf, which June Christy sings well. (Capitol 273)
"Record Review. Artistry in Boogie / Rika, Jika Jack." Metronome. September 1946. 34.
It's a Pity to Say Goodnight / Intermission Riff. December 1946
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It's a Pity to Say Goodnight
Intermission Riff

June Christy strains too much and the band is nothing to rave about on side one. The well scored reverse, though, has a good Ellingtonian piano intro, some bullish tenoring by Vido Musso and some screaming brass, but to Deuce Simon a general stiffness pervades that cuts down the effectiveness of the writing. (Capitol 298)
"Record Review. It's a Pity to Say Goodnight / Intermission Riff." Metronome. December 1946. 36.
Artistry in Rhythm. January 1947
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Come Back To Sorrento
Artistry in Bolero
Willow Weep For Me

Opus in Pastels
Ain't No Misery in Me
Artistry in Percussion

This album is Kenton's most ambitious and interesting project to date. To Deuce Feather at least, it is certainly the album of the year. In the inevitable comparison with the only other progressive-big-band album of the year, Boyd Raeburn's, Kenton shows several advantages. His sides give much more freedom to the band's great array of soloists; moreover, the music, you feel, could only have been interpreted properly by jazzmen, because it never loses contact with the jazz idiom, whereas the Raeburn things could have been done pretty much the same by a collection of studio men.

Really it's almost as much a Pete Rugulo [
sic] Album as a Stan Kenton album for the band's brilliant young arranger scored five of the eight sides, three of them originals. Rugulo emerges from this album as an ambitious writer who uses his profound musical knowledge intelligently, giving his work mood, structure and originality, but seldom reaching into pretentiousness.

There was some disagreement among the Deuces about certain sides. Deuce Simon thought Vido Musso tried too hard on his
Sorrento solo side, which Deuce Feather considers the best Musso disc to date. All Deuces agreed that Rugulo's Bolero is pleasant though unsensational, second-hand Ravel; that Willow is June Christy's best vocal ever and a beautiful, moving Rugulo arrangement. Fantasy and Pastels are the only sides in the album written and arranged by Kenton himself. The former, played at a mad tempo, swings anyway and has fine Musso and Boots Mussulli. Pastels is a piece for sax section and
rhythm only, in the old style of the hand, shallow but pleasant. Safranski is a fine Ruguloriginal built for the bassist who gave it its title.
Misery, written and arranged by the hand's ex-trombonist Gene Roland, has June Christy singing miserably fiat, is the weakest side of the album. Percussion, featuring Shelly Manne's excellent work, is more musical and better constructed than most records featuring drummers.

The album notes have several errors, such as the listing of guitarist Bob Ahern as a drummer. Much more should have been told about Rugulo but he'll he the subject of a METRONOME feature soon. Meanwhile, don't miss this album. Whatever its faults or merits, everyone will agree that here is a band that's trying to do something really great. (Capitol Album BD 39)
Leonard G Feather and George T Simon. "Record Review. Artistry in Rhythm." Metronome. January 1947. 35.
After You / His Feet Too Big for De Bed. April 1947
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After You C
His Feet Too Big for de Bed C +

Out of tune trombones and a harsh voicing of The Pastels, Stan’s new vocal group, make the first side almost intolerable listening. Deuce Simon, who can make out what June Christy sings of the double-entendre Calypso, likes
Bed pretty much; Ulanov and Dean prefer to stand up. (Capitol 361)
"Record Review. After You / His Feet Too Big for De Bed." Metronome. April 1947. 25.
Concerto to End All Concertos. May 1947
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Concerto to End All Concertos B (parts one and two)

Though The Band of the Year gets a a wonderful sound, what it plays (credited to Stan himself) is pretty week. It's a pity someone didn’t write a concerto to end all, etc. before this one came along. Good choruses by Buddy Childers and Ray Wetzel on trumpet, Boots Mussulli on alto, Vido Musso on tenor. (Capitol 382)
"Record Review. Concerto to End All Concertos." Metronome. May 1947. 30, 32.
Across the Alley From the Alamo / There Is No Greater Love. June 1947
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Across The Alley From The Alamo C+
There lIs No Greater Love B –

Alamo is mostly a poor vocal by June Christy, saved partially by Vido Musso's tenor. Love is sung by The Pastels, offering fairly good group work with a Staffordish lead by Margaret Dale. (Capitol 387)
"Record Review. Across the Alley From the Alamo / There Is No Greater Love." Metronome. June 1947. 28.
Collaboration / Machito. July 1947
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Collaboration B
Machito C+

The first is first-rate insofar as Kai Winding gets a chance to work with the Impressionist piano theme, which is second- or third-rate. On
Machito, once again Stan and/or Pete Rugolo rely on the well-worn Kenton device of taking a figure, repeating it with almost no change except in dynamics, building it only in volume until it rips your ears off in a roaring climax. In this case, the finish is a frantic duet compounded of Skip Layton's trombone and Buddy Childers’ trumpet both playing altissimo notes, and what they have compounded is little less titan a felony as the notes come out, one after another, wrong, vitiating a good idea. (Capitol 408)
"Record Review. Collaboration / Machito." Metronome. July 1947. 25.
Hollywood Hucksters. Happy Blues / Them There Eyes. October 1947
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Happy Blues B –
Them There Eyes B –

A rather disappointing release for these supposedly great jazz dispensers. Kenton and BG are way below par in the
Blues singing department, and just about make par on the piano and clarinet respectively. This rating would be much lower if it weren't for Benny Carter's alto, Charlie Shavers' trumpet and Red Norvo's vibes. The same story holds for Eyes, except there is no vocal. Benny and Stan are sub-par this time but are saved by Norvo, Carter, and particularly Shavers' fine muted trumpet. (Capitol 40022)
"Record Review. Hollywood Hucksters. Happy Blues / Them There Eyes." Metronome. October 1947. 23.
Down in Chihuahua / Minor Riff. October 1947
Down In Chihuahua C
Minor Riff C+

Chihuahua, a frantic novelty, proves one point, that Safranski is a giant among bass players and that he has ·a sense of humor, too. Aside from this fact, there is nothing good to say for this pretentious, stiff, unrelaxed side. The Pastels are okay on unison, but when they flower out into harmony, look out. The song is ridiculous and the girl soloist is terrible. Minor Riff is just a shade better because Vido Musso abets Safranski with a big tenor. This band just can't seem to swing; Stan must be trying too hard. (Capitol 449)
"Record Review. Down in Chihuahua / Minor Riff." Metronome. October 1947. 24.
Theme to the West / Curiosity. December 1947
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Theme To The West C
Curiosity C –

Theme is a trashy pseudo-concerto, featuring Stan's piano in a setting borrowed from a dozen movie soundtracks and that many more scores by contemporary composers of varying distinction. Arranger Rugolo, who assisted in the construction of this flimsy vehicle, should hide his face in shame. What June Christy should do we are not prepared to say; what she should not do is songs like Curiosity, a creaking calypso piece which June sings, as usual, so
sharply we're bleeding. (Capitol 15005 )
"Record Review. Theme to the West / Curiosity." Metronome. December 1947. 46.
Unison Riff / I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out. January 1948
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Unison Riff B –
Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out C

Unison is an unhappy riff at best. Fortunately the Pete Rugolo arrangement left loopholes for some fine bop solo by Art Pepper's alto, Ed Bert's trombone as well as Wetzel's and Alvarez’s trumpets. The bongo drumming is a huge mistake here, used as it is on fill-in. June Christy tells ya to get out on the reverse side, which the Deuces didn't do quickly enough. (Capitol 15018)
"Record Review. Unison Riff / I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out." Metronome. January 1948. 45.
Lover / Soothe Me. March 1948
Lover C+
Soothe Me C

The Rodgers and Hart standard is played to Deuce Simon’s satisfaction: he dislikes Safranski’s bass and Kai Winding’s trombone and the arrangement. His colleagues are disturbed by what they regard as a movie concerto intro, by Vido Musso’s stodgy tenor, by the reiterated but not reinvigorated figures (according to Dean and Ulanov). It’s a remarkable conception of
Soothe Me which backs Lover, screaming, screeching, not soothing, but June Christy’s precise intonation impressed all three Deuces. (Capitol 15031)
George T Simon, Barry Ulanov, and Dean. "Record Review. Lover / Soothe Me." Metronome. March 1948. 45.
Metronome All Stars with Stan Kenton. Leap Here / Metronome Riff. April 1948
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Leap Here
Metronome Riff

Seventh in a series of poll-winners' records, this latest METRONOME All Star disc, produced by Capitol, features an eight-piece group on the first side and the same octet along with the Kenton band on the reverse. Personnel includes Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Harris, Buddy DeFranco, Flip Phillips, Nat Cole, Billy Bauer, Eddie Safranski and Buddy Rich.

Leap is a light riff thing concocted on the date by Nat Cole and spots sixteen bar and longer solos by all involved, with extra background fill-ins from Dizzy and Harris. Riff is a Pete Rugolo original which the Kentonians had played often on jobs. It was adapted for this session to include a small group section plus solo spots for the various winners. It features the brilliant Kenton brass playing with a rhythm section of Cole, Bauer, Safranski and Rich.

As in the past, the Deuces will not attempt to rate this record, royalty proceeds of which will again be contributed to various charities. (Capitol 15039)
"Record Review. Metronome All Stars with Stan Kenton. Leap Here / Metronome Riff." Metronome. April 1948. 45.
Thermopolae / Peanut Vendor. May 1948
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Thermopolae C
Peanut Vendor C+

Thermopylae is a narrow mountain pass from Thessaly into Greece, site of the famous defense of Leonidas in the Persian War (480 BC). Possibly this is what arranger-composer Bob Graettinger had in mind when he wrote and named the first side; possibly not, considering the change in spelling. It's well-disciplined playing but thoroughly confused and confusing writing; the thing gets nowhere, very deliberately and dully; it adds up to a background, one that's repeated over and over. The Deuces are puzzled as to what Bob and Stan were trying to build—a bridge over the pass perhaps?
Peanut Vendor was arranged by Pete Rugolo and features crashing Latin rhythm and Milt Bernhart on a trombone solo taken from His Feet Too Big For De Bed. It's monotonous, repetitious, but builds up to some sort of an ear-smashing climax, in the Herman Herd pattern, and is probably one of the loudest Kenton sides yet. (Capitol 15052)
"Record Review. Thermoplae / Peanut Vendor." Metronome. May 1948. 45.
A Presentation of Progressive Jazz. June 1948
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Presentation Of Progressive Jazz C

A jerry-built jumble of effects and counter-effects, this album presents very little that can justifiably be called either jazz or progressive. There is, to he sure, considerable aping. of the sounds of modem composers, but the jazz enters only occasionally and very slyly by the hack door, through June Christy's singing of
Lonely Woman (against enormous background odds), George Weidler's alto in the Elegy For Alto, and Art Pepper on the same instrument and Al Porcino on trumpet in Cuban Carnival.

The program notes indicate the quality of the thinking behind this set of pretentious performances. Of
Monotony: “The composition truly lives up to its title…” Imagine! What an achievement! Monotony!!! And Stan, who, the notes say, “on the subject of his music is most articulate.” The “articulate” Mr. Kenton says that “In this album we try to prove that jazz is not just an emotional projection from an individual musician, not something always set to a definite beat, but instead a music of strong emotional impact even WITHOUT rhythm, or possibly in a five-four, seven-five, three-four or even at times a rubato movement.” Oh, the daring! The originality! Three-quarter time, just like waltzes. “even at times a rubato movement”—just like Chopin. “WITHOUT rhythm”—thrilling but just as impossible, if you play music, as the seven-five time Stan suggests. All music is played in rhythm, though not necessarily with a regular beat in four-four; no music can he played in seven-five until fifth-notes take the place of quarter-notes and “Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come.”

There are some decent guitar measures played by Brazilian Laurindo Almeida (in
Lament and Cuban Carnival) and a wisp of an idea managed in the Fugue For Rhythm Section, in which the interlinear writing just doesn't sound contrapuntal. There are some tolerable evocations of Stravinsky in Impressionism, but nothing in This ls My Theme is acceptable: a trashy set of sophomoric verses, filled with every cliche in the high-school poetry books, is intoned with meaningless dramatic emphasis by June, who varies the intoning with a well-tossed moan now and then, against a set of musical cues borrowed from radio's mystery shows. Pete Rugolo, who studied with Darius Milhaud and probably knows his L'Orestie d'Eschyle in which a genuine version of a similar idea really comes off, should have known better; whoever wrote that exercise in verbal bathos obviously could not have known better. (Capitol album CD 79)
"Record Review. A Presentation of Progressive Jazz." Metronome. June 1948. 36.
Bongo Riff / Willow Weep for Me. October 1948
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Bongo Riff B –
Willow Weep For Me B –

Deuce Ulanov thinks the first is nothing more than “bongo diddles with brass punctuation, the usual scalar passages and staccato coda.” Deuce Simon thinks it's rich rhythmic invention and recommends it. Deuce Hodgkins is exactly in the middle. Ulanov is low man again on
Willow, but not as far from Simon as on the Riff, as all agree that June Christy sings quite well on this side, extracted from Stan's first album, that Kai Winding's trombone bit is well-placed. (Capitol 15179)
"Record Review. Bongo Riff / Willow Weep for Me." Metronome. October 1948. 45.
Harlem Holiday / Don't Want That Man Around. December 1948
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Harlem Holiday B —
Don't Want That Man Around C

Though Stan's own
Holiday was obviously made in the early days of the new Kenton band (them bongos, man, them bongos!), the arrangement sounds like the early days of the old Kenton band. Solos are by Chico Alvarez, Eddie Bert, Art Pepper and Bob Cooper, the first three of whom acquit themselves well. June Christy worries the daylights out of Man, as she bends every other note to the accompaniment of screeching trumpets, followed by the solo trumpet of Ray Wetzel. (Capitol 15248)
"Record Review. Harlem Holiday / Don't Want That Man Around." Metronome. December 1948. 45.
How Am I to Know / He Was a Good Man. February 1949
How Am I to Know B
He Was a Good Man C+

Some excellent trombone section blowing highlights the first side, on which bassist Safranski's articulation and the scoring of the first chorus impress Simon, Hodgkins and Ulanov in that order. This is definitely one of the best Kenton sides of any year. The reverse is very weak lyrically but surprises with the best June Christy singing heard in many a side: less strained more in tune. (Capitol 15327)
"Record Review. How Am I to Know / He Was a Good Man." Metronome. February 1949. 38.
Stan Kenton Encores. March 1949
Peg O’ My Heart B
Chorale for Brass, Piano and Bongo B
He's Funny That Way C+
Abstraction B –
Capitol Punishment B
Somnambulism B

Capitol has scraped the bottom of the Kenton barrel and come up with an album of sides that might never have been released if the band had continued recording. Strangely enough, these sides, to us at least, are some of the best Stan has recorded.
Peg is one of the old ones, as evidenced by the presence of Vido Musso and Kai Winding. Opening with some piano that doesn’t sound like Stan's usual tentative efforts, it goes on to some wheezing Vido, a booting Winding solo full of glisses and roars, some low Safranski bowing that gives a pleasant effect, lots of drum fill-ins and brass smears. “The band almost swings on this,” says Barry. The Chorale is a fresh side, written by Stan and Pete Rugolo for recent concert dates. It opens with a bongo and piano follow-the-leader routine out of Debussy which causes the anti-bongo Ulanov to state: “This has some of the effect that a rhythm instrument might have in a serious composition where it’s used for tonal contrast and not only for rhythmic effect.” The side is beautifully recorded, the trombones achieve a lovely sound, punctuated by the trumpets, the mood is slightly Rhapsody in Bluish. Judging by the airplane effects, Funny is from the band's “middle” period (about 1946), weakest side in the album because of the poor Christy vocal. Abstraction is by Stan and Pete again, one of the recent sides that sounds as though it followed the Chorale in context. It features the keening alto of George Weidler and was recorded with six rhythm instruments, a Spanish beat vying with a kind of military drumming. The side is in the somewhat disconnected Kenton-Rugolo modern style and might have been written as movie music for an old-time Western Tale of the Santa Fe Trail, the brass section representing the Army coming to the rescue. Capitol Punishment is How High the Moon, another old side featuring Boots Mussulli, and Kai in characteristic solos. But the outstanding noises are from trombonist Skip Layton who swings the entire brass section with his high trumpetlike wails that are nevertheless controlled and in tune. Somnambulism is by Ken Hanna, sometime trμmpeter in the band, who was too busy playing to write much but whose effort here is pronounced the best side in the album by Deuce Simon, though Deuce U. calls it “very aptly titled.” It has a kind of Prelude in C# Minor feeling and features Weidler again, plus the blowsy trombone of Milt Bernhardt.

With this album, Capitol has sent Stan off with a bang (his own) and with the tacit title of the Dali of Jazz: a surrealistic cover features red, and blue arms and hands in a bleak setting, with a small Stan, in batoning pose, disappearing.
"Record Review. Stan Kenton Encores." Metronome. March 1949. 37.
Journey to Brazil / Ecuador. July 1949
Journey to Brazil B –
Ecuador B

Stan and Pete Rugolo, who arranged the trip together, spend too much frantic time getting to Brazil and getting back, and don't spend enough when they get there, to permit Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida more than a few reflective measures. Before and after his relaxed finger-strumming, all the Latin percussion in the band bursts loose the brass blasts, and there are some viable, voluminous contributions by trombone, alto and trumpet. Coupling is a Gene Roland expedition to
Bijou-land, wherever he may think he is. Highly suggestive of the Barnet “rhumba a la jazz,” it has its own charm, some effective Kai Winding trombone and a half-chorus of muscley Musso tenor. (Capitol 57-631)
"Record Review. Journey to Brazil / Ecuador." Metronome. July 1949. 26.
Mardi Gras / Blues in Riff. July 1950
Mardi Gras
Blues in Riff

We are not rating the first side because, as Stan has explained, it isn't music but an attempt to capture a holiday spirit. Credited to guitarist Laurindo Almeida, "the Kenton band and their families" iterate a semitropical melody at great length, the band chiming in for a few blown notes toward the end. The
Riff is quite a different story. Made by the new Kenton band but without the strings, the Rugolo piece is Kentonia as we like it. The playing is precise, the recording is marvelous, Pete's writing for brass is delicately conceived. Solos by Art Pepper, Shorty Rogers, and Bob Cooper are strictly in the cool groove, inevitably inviting comparison to Konitz, Davis and Getz. Our nod goes to Bob as the least tepid cat, and to Stan for not losing sight of swinging jazz. (Capitol 888)
"Record Review. Mardi Gras / Blues in Riff." Metronome. July 1950: 28-9.
Jolly Roger / Evening in Pakistan. August 1950
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Jolly Rogers B
Evening in Pakistan B –

The jolly Rogers is Shorty, of course, whose own bop lines are given ample utterance by his Kenton colleagues. His more restrained efforts are right out of Miles Davis's trumpet book, while Art Pepper continues to demonstrate an attractive acquaintance with the cool sounds of Lee Konitz, Bird and Lester. Nighttime in the Mohammedan world, as Franklyn Marks envisions it, sounds like a convention of rug merchants with a broad enough loom to include a bolero beat. (Capitol 1043)
"Record Review. Jolly Roger / Evening in Pakistan." Metronome. August 1950. 29.
Then You Kissed Me / Easy Go / Love for Sale / Be Easy, Be Tender. January 1951
Then You Kissed Me B –
Easy Go B –
Love for Sale B
Be Easy, Be Tender B –

Jay Johnson (known as Glenn Douglas during his Beneke days) sings quite well on
Kissed and Tender, though the band doesn’t sustain any romantic mood. Easy Go swings, according to George, doesn't according to Barry. A cross between Song of the Wanderer and Robbins' Nest, this Joe Garland-Kenton original is much lighter than the band's usual instrumentals and features some light, dainty muted Shorty Rogers trumpet and fair Bob Fitzpatrick trombone. Love is stiffer. It's chiefly Milton Bernhart's trombone with a Latin background. (Capitol 1191/ 1236)
George T Simon and Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Then You Kissed Me / Easy Go / Love for Sale / Be Easy, Be Tender." Metronome. January 1951. 27.
Stan Kenton Presents. January 1951
Stacks Image 1940
Art Pepper
Maynard Ferguson
Halls of Brass
June Christy
House of Strings
Shelly Manne

This collection of Kenton innovations. defies rating, which is as much to its credit as to the critic’s confusion. Its several virtuoso display-pieces are, with the exception of Maynard Ferguson's exercise in screech, more mature investigations of alto saxophone (
Pepper), voice (Christy) and drums (Manne) than usual. The brass Halls resound to Bill Russo's effective manipulation of trombones, trumpets, horns and tuba. The House of Strings presents what is possibly the finest string performance on records, in or out of jazz, in a brilliant organization of twelve-tone resources by Bob Graettinger, who comes of musical age with this work. (Capitol album 248)
"Record Review. Stan Kenton Presents (Capitol Album 248)." Metronome. January 1951. 27.
Pagliacci / Santa Lucia. March 1951
Pagliacci C –
Santa Lucia C

These sides can do nobody any good. Vido moans with an awful society tenor sound through these lumpy cliches, the band shrieks now and then to no effect, and both sides come to a senseless high note ending. Ugh. (Capitol 7-1306)
"Record Review. (Stan Kenton—Vido Musso) Pagliacci / Santa Lucia." Metronome. March 1951. 27.
I'm So in the Mood / Viva Prado. April 1951
missing - if you have a copy please contact me
"Record Review. I'm So in the Mood / Viva Prado (Capitol 1219)." Metronome. April 1951. 28.
Artistry in Tango / September Song. June 1951
Artistry in Tango C+
September Song B –

We know Stan fell in love with Buenos Aires, but that’s not explanation enough for the slinky swooshes of the
Tango. Shades of Rudolph Valentino and Stutz Bearcats! The brass is at its best in Kurt Weill’s lovely ode to fading virility, but here too the basic idea is strangely banal: the boys sing in glee club unison that would do Sammy Kaye credit, but not Stan through most of the side.
"Record Review. Artistry in Tango / September Song." Metronome. June 1951. 28.
Dynaflow / Tortillas and Beans. August 1951
Dynaflow B –
Tortillas and Beans C

Ray Wetzel has a field day in this coupling: his smoothly running jazz engine is brightly played by the band and given a custom finish by Art Pepper, almost hiding the essential ordinariness of his blueprint; his Mexican accent is given full play along with the corn (
Tortillas, that is) and frijoles and a willing colleague (Eddie Gomez). On one listening, Dyna flows; given more attention, it loses all but the spirit and skill of the performance. On one listening, the vaudeville Mexicans who talk through the other pall badly: they're not funny. (Capitol 1535)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Dynaflow / Tortillas and Beans." Metronome. August 1951. 26.
Jump for Joe / Laura. October 1951
Jump for Joe B (7)
Laura C+ (5)

Jump is a sixteen bar riff based on the blues and it swings more than most Kenton sides, with the rhythm section not fighting so hard and consequently sounding much more relaxed. Art Pepper's solo, played behind the beat, doesn't fit this sort of riff routine, but the band, as a unit, helps to bring it off. The reverse is another of those ballad unison singing routines. You know what it sounds like? Exactly like a bunch of musicians (NOT singers) singing. The typical, smearing trombones don't help to sustain a mood that the Kentonians seem to be trying to. create. (Capitol 1704)
George T Simon. "Record Review. Jump for Joe / Laura." Metronome. October 1951. 26.
Maynard Ferguson. What's New / Hot Canary. October 1951
What's New C (5)
The Hot Canary C (4)

If Anderson's showing off seems tasteless to you, try Ferguson's. What a waste of talent! Maynard screams all over his horn, sounding like a big horse fly caught in a closet. His lower register, sometimes good, sounds ugly here, what with its lack of vibrato. The only reason this doesn't get a lower rating is because you've got to give the guy credit for his technique. The Kenton band backs him up.(Capitol 7-1713)
George T Simon. "Record Review. Maynard Ferguson. What's New / Hot Canary." Metronome. October 1951. 25.
Night Watch / Francesca. November 1951
Night Watch B
Francesca C +

Night Watch swings more than the usual Kenton and so it might well become more popular than most of his recent sides. It’s a catchy, repetitious riff, written by Stan though it could have been more effective with a tighter rhythm section which this sort of a riff needs. The band plays well and there's a pretty good trombone solo. The reverse is a tango-ish sort of thing that doesn't go anywhere in particular. It’s based upon a fairly familiar sounding strain, but there's too much screeching and Art Pepper’s double-time solo, though good in itself, destroys the little continuity that the side possesses. Does this side, by the way, signal the end of the feud between capitol and disc jockey-composer Sherm Feller? (Capitol 1774)
George T Simon. "Record Review. Night Watch / Francesca." Metronome. November 1951. 26.
Yes / Mambo Rhapsody. June 1952
Yes B –
Mambo Rhapsody B –

Stan's latest husky-voiced girl singer, Jerri Winters, is firmly intrenched in the Anita O'Day-June Christie tradition, a pleasant Kenton addition. She does as well as might be expected by a lyric which takes most of its effect from the repetition of the title word. The band comes to life here and there on the
Mambo, which is better known now as Mambo on My Mind, and makes better listening with its words sung, as they are not here. Conte Candoli, instead, takes a few swipes at the top register patented by Perez Prado’s brass and doesn’t quite make their league (Capitol)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Yes / Mambo Rhapsody." Metronome. June 1952. 25.
Delicado / Bags and Baggage. July 1952
Delicado B+
Bags and Baggage B+

Delicado, set in the baio, a Brazilian form, reminiscent of the samba, should be monotonous, but isn't. It doesn't move very far from a simple rhythmic figure played over and over by Laurindo Almeida on guitar at the beginning and end of the record and not notably varied by the band, which makes an emphatic entrance about a third of the way through. It doesn't move very far, but the point is it moves, singly on guitar, collectively in the ensemble. My only let-down was the concluding, the inevitable, the hackneyed brass scream. Bags is a similar delicacy in Don Bagley's bass measures, of which there are many, a related blast in the brass, but rather better controlled in Johnny Richards' engaging score by such things as a bass and band invention. The time changes (slow to fast to slow) are well brought off, too. The whole smacks of the early Kenton days, the best of them, when bass solos were a commonplace in the band and the band wasn't half so good as it is today. (Capitol)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Delicado / Bags and Baggage." Metronome. July 1952. 24.
Stardust / Beehive. November 1952
Stardust B
Beehive B

Stan opens
Stardust with a straightforward presentation of the tune, then Milt Bernhart's trombone takes over, ultimately, after some blowzy moments in the modern barrelhouse idiom, to relinquish the spotlight to Stan again, this time swinging. A few farewell brass blasts and a fine cool tenor bring it all to an end, a little disjointed but not ineffective. Beehive is in an older Kenton tradition, Eager Beaverish in texture, brought up to date by a soft and swinging tenor, cool as overleaf. Highlight: the tenor. (Capitol)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Stardust / Beehive." Metronome. November 1952. 25.
Taboo / Lonesome Train. December 1952
Taboo B
Lonesome Train B

The familiar Latin accents of
Taboo are effectively inflected by Stan's sections and soloists, none of them producing anything remarkable, all of them making surprisingly good dance music. That's a fine fat and nasty chord at the end, too. I like Gene Roland’s Lonesome Train very much; l’d like it better as a record if Kay Brown's vocal were not so attenuated in vocal color, were not made irritating by an echo chamber the second time around, and the train's beat were not made so chuggingly obvious. For all that, it's interesting listening of a lonely sort. (Capitol)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Taboo / Lonesome Train." Metronome. December 1952. 24.
City of Glass. March 1953
There is no point in rating this four-part suite by Bob Graettinger in terms of A to D; It is neither jazz nor popular music in any of the several senses in which those categories are generally understood; its only connection with the previous achievement of other the composer (Graettinger) or the conductor (Kenton) is the vigorous performance the latter elicits in behalf of the former. As music, it seems to me to fall somewhere between Schoenberg and Schillinger, but most of all to fall, nowhere suggesting the understanding of atonal or twelve-tone composing traditions to be found in the same writer’s House of Strings. There’s a nice guitar bit in the second movement (The Structures) and the third movement (Dance Before the Mirror) almost attains a jazz best, but the overall impression is of a muddled modern work ill-defined in purpose and not much closer to a work of art than science fiction. (10-inch Capitol LP)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. City of Glass." Metronome. March 1953. 24.
Hush-a-bye / Harlem Nocturne. May 1953
Hush-a-bye B
Harlem Nocturne B

Two polished performances that support the tunes very well; only by an ensemble inflection or two do they really fit into the jazz category. (Capitol 2373
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Hush-a-bye / Harlem Nocturne." Metronome. May 1953. 27.
New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm / Sketches on Standards. June 1953
Stacks Image 2078
New Concepts:
23º N-82º W
Portrait of a Count
Invention for Guitar and Trumpet
My Lady
Young Blood
Frank Speaking
album rating B–

[Sketches on Standards]
Sophisticated Lady
Begin the Beguine
Lover Man
Pennies from Heaven
Over the Rainbow
Fascinating Rhythm
There's a Small Hotel
Shadow Waltz

album rating B

The most remarkable thing about this band is its identity. For many years now, Stan has led a variety of musicians, with different sounds different styles, different playing experience–all united only by the leader at the head. Whatever the differences, however, it has always come out the same–loud. precise, brilliant in its technical execution and almost never swinging, whatever the effort towards that end. The impression remains the same in these albums, the first offering no really new concepts. revealing little but the addition to the band of quite a few new Bill Russo scores, lots of room given Lee Konitz for solos, and the continuing loudness, precision, technical brilliance and unswinging force of the band. Sal Salvatore on guitar is as impressive a musician as Lee, I would gather from this album, as I would understand from the second set that the band plays an effective dance date but still misses getting a good beat. (Capitol LPs 383 426)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm / Sketches on Standards." Metronome. June 1953: 26
Baia / All About Ronnie. September 1953
The band plays superbly in both dull sides. Made dull only by the inherent monotony of both tunes. Somebody's lost in an echo chamber in Baia: Chris Connors does a fair O'Day-Christy impersonation in Ronnie. (Capitol 2511)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Baia / All About Ronnie." Metronome. September 1953: 23.
Portraits on Standards. January 1954
You and the Night and the Music B
Reverie B+
I've Got You Under My Skin C+
Autumn in New York B
April in Paris B–
How High the Moon B
Crazy Rhythm B
I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good B+

Relaxed Kenton, very listenable Kenton, this.
Music gets a lift from Zoot Sims's tenor: Debussy's Reverie a considerable spark from Bill Russo's arranging pen, especially in its tightly muted, distant brass background. Skin is quiet and attractive in its sax team and in Lee Konitz's solo, blasty and empty in its brass attack, particularly Conte's solo. Autumn gives Conte and the brass better matter for massive sound, and they almost make it come off. Lee is the best thing about Paris, which also gets out of volume control but doers sound. Moon and Rhythm are really superior dance arrangements, Bad an excellent vehicle for Frank Rosolino's trombone. (Capitol LP 462 )
"Record Review. Portraits on Standards." Metronome. January 1954. 24.
The Creep / Tenderly. March 1954
coming soon
"Record Review. The Creep / Tenderly." Metronome. March 1954. 24.
Ken Hanna. Nirvana / Sweet Riley O'Toole. May 1954
Nirvana A– 5
Sweet Riley O'Toole B 6

Ken Hanna is a trumpeter whom many of us remember as a respected Stan Kenton sideman and arranger. On this, the debut record of his very fine new band, he doesn't feature himself, but instead puts the spotlight instead on Dick Nash, one of the most fabulous and, I might add, underrated musicians extant. Dick, Ted's brother, has played in Tex Beneke's and Billy May's bands. On this very attractive composition he displays not only his gorgeous tone and his fantastic range, but also a fine jazz feeling. This is in all respects a magnificent performance and should go down as one of the great trombone exhibitions of all time. The reverse, which I almost forgot to mention in my exuberance, is a cute novelty opus, performed with spirit by the band and by Shirli Sanders, a gal singer who shows a real feel for jazz. (Trend)
George T Simon. "Record Review. Ken Hanna. Nirvana / Sweet Riley O'Toole." Metronome. May 1954. 27.
Don't Take Your Love From Me / Alone Too Long. July 1954.
Don't Take Your Love From Me C+
Alone Too Long

Tightly-muted brass, an uninteresting alto solo and a powerful overall sound in
Love; similar sounds with a running bass line, piano and guitar solos of no adventurousness in Alone. As you can see—or hear—nothing special, or much of anything else. (Capitol 2793)
"Record Review. Don't Take Your Love From Me / Alone Too Long." Metronome. July 1954. 24-25.
Lady in Red / Under a Blanket of Blue. August 1954.
Lady in Red B
Under a Blanket of
Blue B

Two Kenton attempts at commerciality. The first is sort of a follow-up, after all these years, to Tampico. It swings in a Latin way, spots good trombones and exciting, screaming brass. The reverse has some pretty sax writing and blowing, slightly stiff feeling, and no good balance, what with the background trombones out blowing the muted trumpet solo. (Capitol)
George T Simon. "Record Review. Lady in Red / Under a Blanket of Blue ." Metronome. August 1954. 28.
Ken Hanna. September 1954
Pogo B
Chicken Road A –
Gotta Go Now B +
Misty Mood B
First Floor Front B
You're Nobody's Baby B+
Nirvana A –
Sweet Riley O'Toole

Ken's new band (its last two sides of this LP were reviewed in the May, 1954 METRONOME), is an exciting one. Comprised not of the usual studio musicians who seem to be making almost every West Coast record date, but instead of a lot of young men whose names are quite unfamiliar here (with the exception of trombonist Dick Nash), it comes across as well-trained, unusually cohesive, musical and often swinging group.

The opening Pogo is the only side that strikes a Kenton (Ken graduated from Stan's band) mood, but despite Nash's fine blowing, and some interesting guitar and trumpet voicing, it doesn't quite come off.
Road, though, is an exciting, emotional, dramatic opus. Written by Joe Greene, it could easily be a Willard Robison piece, with its direct and unpleasant lyric content. And Sherli Sanders emerges here as a powerful, clear-voiced singer, who obviously knows whereof she sings. Gotta is a swing thing, well sung by the late Jay Johnson, well blown by Nash, somewhat confusing in its construction; excellently played by the entire ensemble. Misty, with its soprano lead in a Miller reed sound, is nice enough—it sounds like a theme song and would benefit from further development.

Front is a nice, pleasant swing bit penned by Ed Loe, featuring good Joe Felix piano and another good, but short Nash passage. Baby is a rocking thing, given an exciting edge by the soprano sax lead, a knowing, Jeffries-like vocal by Jay, plus more fine Nash. It’s on Nirvana, however, that Dick really shines, as the earlier review pointed out. The last number is one of the better novelties of recent vintage, with Miss Sanders again deservedly featured. (Trend)
George T Simon. "Record Review. Ken Hanna." Metronome. September 1954. 29.
Kenton Showcase (Holman and Russo). October 1954
Theme of Four Values
Study for Bass
Blues Before and After
Egdon Heath
LP rating: B

Solo for Buddy
The Opener
Fearless Finlay
Theme and Variations
King Fish
LP rating: B

These two Kenton Showcase
albums feature the compositions of Bill Russo (Values, etc.) and Bill Holman (Bags, etc.). Bill's pieces vary from vehicles for soloists (Theme for Bob Fitzpatrick's bone, Study for Don Bagley's bass, Bacante for Candy Candido's conga drumming) to straight forward jazz (Blues and Sweets), to ensemble and section sounds of an ear-catching nature (Thisbe, Egdon, Dusk). While all of these hold one's attention, it seems to me that Bill would be a more interesting composer if he were to introduce something like the jazz settings he gives soloists and sections in the first two groups into such reflective pieces as the last group.

The notable quality that the Holman scores have is a beat–most of the time; in
Finlay, Theme and King, this Bill departs from the jazz groove smothly [sic] but not to any great effect. He is at his best providing Buddy Childer (Solo) with a trumpet line or Lee Konitz with an alto background (Vein), but even in the more pretentious trio singled out above, he shows a skill at scoring that deserves this
tribute. (Capitol LP's HS25/6)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Kenton Showcase (Holman and Russo)." Metronome. October 1954. 22-23.
Skoot / More Love Than Your Love. November 1954
Skoot B
More Love Than Your Love B –

Skoot is an Eddie Beal-Erroll Garner score perfectly adapted to Stan's needs: an engaging riffy figure for piano is supported by a running bass line and kicked wide open by the brass before coming back again, and again, and again. The saxes and brass and Stan play the coupling as if it were a distinguished tune. (Capitol 12508)
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Skoot / More Love Than Your Love." Metronome. November 1954. 42.
Pete Rugolo's Adventures in Rhythm. January 1955
Barry Ulanov. "Record Review. Pete Rugolo's Adventures in Rhythm." Metronome. January 1955. 25.
The Kenton Era. March 1955
1. a place io stand

2. balboa bandwagon

Artistry in Rhythm
Two Moods
Etude for Saxophones
I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
Lamento Gitano
Reed Rapture
La Cumparsita
St. James Infirmary
Arkansas Traveler

3. growing pains
Russian Lullaby
I Lost My Sugar in Salt Lake City
Opus a Dollar Three Eighty
I Know T hat You Know
I'm Going Mad for a Pad
Ol’ Man River
I'll Remember April

4. artistry in rhythm
One Twenty
Body and Soul
Tea for Two
I Never Thought I'd Sing the Blues
I've Got the World on a String
Everybody Swing
You May Not Love Me
More Than You Know

5. Progressive jazz
Artistry in Harlem Swing
If I Could Be With You
By the River St. Marie
Sophisticated Lady
Over the Rainbow
Elegy for Alto

6. innovations
In Veradero
Coop's Solo

7. contemporary
Swing House
You Go to My Head
Stella by Starlight
Bill's Blues
Modern Opus

8. epilogue

THE KENTON ERA is an impressive monument of wax. Beautifully packaged, with the finest et of notes (written by Bud Freeman) for jazz records that I have ever read, and complete with marvelous pictures, too. it trace the development of this important organization, from its early, off-the-air recordings of 1941, up to and including its appearance in Paris in late 1953.
It is, in essence, a thorough appraisal of Kenton’s contribution' to the American jazz scene. It includes his own spoken words about his music (the first side is a long, illustrated speech about his band's history, and the last a resume of where he feels it fits). Freeman's sensitive story of Stan's personal life and that of his band, plus six twelve-inch sides that illustrate just what sort of music the Kentonians were playing in the various stages of their career.

To say that this is the greatest batch of Kenton recordings ever assembled would be permitting my exuberance for the project to influence my critical judgment far too much. For, though there are some very good things here, there are also some disappointing one. And though the Kenton band is well-recorded at times, there are other times when the quality is distressingly bad.

The majority of the sides do not have the usual superb Capitol quality because they were not recorded in the company's studios. Instead. they were cut directly from performances at the Balboa Ballroom, band rehearsals, the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, the Hollywood Bowl, the Commodore Hotel in New York, a concert on Cornell campus, the Alhambra in Paris. Some of the sides were taken from Capitol's transcription service, and some are actually previously unreleased masters made for Capitol Records.

But in spite of some of these technical deficiencies. the album does reflect wonderfully well the great spirit that ha always pervaded the Kenton organization. It displays a group of musicians who want to play what they are playing and who succeed in doing so, despite the short-comings or one or two of the members. Some of these are fired-up performances, stoked, I dare say, by the immense enthusiasm of, and the musicians' tremendous love and respect, for Kenton, himself.

balboa bandwagon

As for the music itself, side two, which has easily the poorest quality, emphasizes the band's early back-beat style.
Moods, written by Ralph Yaw, is typical and shows off the first of many fine trumpet passages by Chico Alvarez, whom I enjoy more now than I did then. The Etude, a Kenton original features lovely saxes in the Don Redman vein, while Bad gives us the first real insight to Stan's penchant for wide voicing, as shown in the writing for saxes. A gal named Kay Gregory sings nicely. Lamento is a very typical instrumental of the swing band era, with more good Chico and a Hodges-like alto blown by Jack Ordean. The Rapture is nothing to go into ditto about, while the enthusiastic-sounding La Cumparsita could just as easily have been Artie Shaw's band playing. Chico stars again there. as he does on St. James, which has much good-natured Kenton singing (?) and kidding of same by the band. The Traveler is a fast flag-waver that points up the rhythm section's ineptness and Chico’s and Red Dorris's good solo horns.

growing pains

Side three finds the band playing with more authority.
Lullaby, the first of many straight-forward (for this band) arrangements by Joe Rizzo, packs a wallop plus Dave Matthews' soulful tenor. Sugar has no back beats—instead some Lunceford-like sounds, nicely penned by Charlie Shirley, as well as some very fine singing by Dolly Mitchell. The Opus is Pete Rugolo's first contribution to the band and is a typically incisive, hard-pounding, emphatic four-four instrumental of that Kenton stage. Know is a flag-waver, that might have come from Glenn Miller's book, featuring more good Matthews plus Stan's first high-note screecher. John Carroll. Anita O'Day bows on Pad, a typical hip novelty of the mid-forties, sung in her usual good manner. The Ol’ Man has nothing startling to offer, April shows off a sensitive vocal by Gene Howard, the same Gene Howard who look that great photo of Stan that graces the cover of this magazine. Liza, another Shirley opus, show off Carroll as an exciting James-like trumpeter, plus a very much improved Red Dorris.

artistry in rhythm

Side four has selections from Capitol's transcription library.
One Twenty is a Kenton original, a heavy, four-four swing thing that features Boots Mussulli's Carter-like alto. The Body is a tour de force for Vido Musso's big-toned, soulful tenor. Tea is credited to Gene Roland, but it sounds more like a head arrangement, beginning as it does with long solos by Stan and Eddie Safranski and then going into a lot of swinging riffs. Never has June Christy's first vocal of the album plus lots of fine Safranski bassing. There's more of Eddie (who's all over the place on this side) on the moody String, nicely scored by Rugolo, excellently blown by Vido. The Swing hit by Roland is really Tea for Two again and shows off some exciting, wild Kai Winding trombone. Gene Howard comes back for a pretty ballad, after which Stan, Eddie and Ray Wetzel, blowing an especially pretty, beautifully-controlled trumpet passage, wind up the side with a fine mood version of More Than You Know.

progressive jazz

Side five gets going on its second band with some more good Safranski on
If I, plus some wild, humorous tromboning by Skip Layton, who, for my dough, never did get the recognition he deserves. The River has some fast group swing singing by the Pastels, while the Lady is all Safranski, first fairly well bowed, then excellently plucked. Stan plays a pretty piano solo on Pete's Interlude, after which June sings Rainbow as badly as possible. Machito is a short but effective wild, screaming bit, and then the side closes with an Elegy, written by both Stan and Pete, that shows off some pretty but at times too reedy alto saxing by George Weidler, plus a typically tense Kenton wind-up.


Side six is devoted to the huge orchestra with which Stan did concerts in 1950. Though the recording balances are not always good (one wonders whether Stan was ashamed of the fiddles of whether the engineers didn't know what to do with them), there is a sort of musical brilliance about these works that heralds even greater things to come some time in Stan's future.
Veradero is an exciting Latin rhythm opus of Neal Hefti's that has some fine Bud Shank flute and great over-all excitement. Amazonia is a lovely composition by Laurindo Almeida, exquisitely played on guitar by its composer. Salute is an ambitious Rugolo offering, replete with tempo changes and featuring some pretty trombone by Harry Betts and some amazingly high screeching by Maynard Ferguson. Coop’s is a Shortv Rogers vehicle for Bob Cooper who blows his tenor very prettily for awhile in the upper register, then sounds less impressive as Shorty takes him and the band into (what else would you expect?) Afro-Cuban forays. Ennui is a Iovely opus by Bill Russo that shows some wonderfully articulate trombone by Betts. Manny Aban's Samana is an enthusiastic-sounding Afro-Cuban number. with a trombone figure repeated over and over again with great intensity and spotting an Art Pepper solo that is pretty hard to catch.


Side seven shows the band at both its most relaxed and its most intense as it plays a group of arrangements by modern writers. This Gerry Mulligan's
Swing House, which resounds to the name of Sweet Georgia Brown, is a nice, loose thing that gives blowing room to Frank Rosolino, Lee Konitz, Richie Kamuca and Conte Condoli, with the first two notably fine. On the other hand, Bob Graettinger’s Head is an intense-sounding bit of impressionistic neuroticism that, to put it most mildly, bothers me. Alrneida's Baa is a Latin composition with a pleasant and catchy theme. Following an unnecessarily pompous intro, Johnny Richards' version of Stella uses the interesting device of featuring George Roberts' warm-sounding bass trombone as a ballad solo instrument, but after awhile the effect becomes wearisome. After all. how romantic can a bull-frog sound? Bill Russo's Bill's Blues has a great ensemble sound and some fine alto by Lennie Niehaus. Graettinger's Opus is full of more dissonances (the man has penned far better things than these two here). The finale is the happiest-sounding number in the entire package. It's Bill Holman's fine original called Zoot and it features great, swinging Z. Sims and some ditto ensemble passages. blown with mighty enthusiasm in the midst of a concert in France.


Side eight is comparatively short. It consists of more intelligent talk by Stan, plus a rather lengthy version of his theme. and that's all.

And that's that, insofar as a direct evaluation of the music in
The Kenton Era goes. For any Kenton fan this album is quite naturally a must item. To those who may not know the man and his music too well, or who may have misunderstood him and it up to now, I can think of no better way than owning this album to pick up on what may heretofore have let you down. Capitol and Bud Freeman, especially, are to be highly commended for this notable, tasteful salute to a man and his band who deserve every single bit of it.
George T Simon. "Record Review. The Kenton Era." Metronome. March 1955. 28-29, 37.
A-Ting A-Ling / Malaguena
A-Ting A-Ling B
Malaguena B

Ann Richards is the latest in the long line of sing-a-like thrushes whom Stan has introduced to us over the years. Her smokey voice pervades through most of the novelty on the first side, which has a spluttering trombone also, but some really thrilling, rocking ensemble sounds as its saviour. The reverse spots an exciting rhythm section, backing the ballad through its usual intense sounds, with a trombonist running into upper register trouble. (Capitol)
"Record Review. A-Ting A-Ling / Malaguena." Metronome. April 1955. 39.
Kenton Presents. Boots Mussuli. April 1955
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Kenton Presents. Boots Mussuli." Metronome. April 1955. 41-42.
Kenton Presents. Frank Rosolino. April 19
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Kenton Presents. Frank Rosolino." Metronome. April 1955. 42.
Kenton Presents. Sal Salvador. April 1955
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Kenton Presents. Sal Salvador." Metronome. April 1955. 42.
Pete Rugolo and His Orchestra. November 1955
Gone With the Wind
In A Sentimental Mood
Bobbin’ With Bob
4:20 AM
Little White Lies
Me Next
Bongo Dance
I’ve Had My Moments
Everything I Have Is Yours
LP rating : B

This is Rugolo adorned in varied orchestral colors and charming chamber type soundings. This album is evenly split between arrangements for full orchestra, that utilize many instruments not usual outside of the classical idiom: timpani, chimes, French horns, etc., and a chamber group composed of trombone, tuba, French horn, bass, guitar, alto flute and drums…(With the exception of
Intermezzo which is beautifully do11e with just reeds and rhythm.)

The full orchestra is sometimes derivative of sounds characteristic of other orchestras : track 4 (Sauter-Finegan), track 5 (Thornhill, though scored well and featuring fine alto that sounds like Art Pepper or one of his admirers…Bud Shank?)

Bobbin' With Bob (I Get A Kick Out Of You under a pseudonym), has the most valid jazz feeling in the set, featuring wonderful, moving baritone by the late Bob Gordon, pulsating rhythm, and good work by the sections. Wind would have made it, but trumpet soloist Doug Mettome had a bad day, and his usually shiny, alert solo work was just a little tarnished.

Tracks 2 and 10 are the best mood makers. They are both by the chamber group, and have oboe, alto-flute and tuba as solo features while attending an interesting blend on ensemble passages.

Latin flavored
Montevideo (small group again) with capable solos by Bud Shank, flute, John Graas, French horn, Howard Roberts, guitar and Milt Bernhardt, trombone is charming. Track 12 is crackling in a big-band interpretation for Latin lovers, and features Julius Watkins on French horn. The most unusual effort between these two pieces of cardboard is full band rendition of Yours which features a lengthy tuba solo by Bill Barber that is pleasanter than one would generally expect from this unwieldy instrument. This album is a challenge to your ears an your phonograph. Burt (Columbia 12'' LP CL 689)
Burt Korall. "Record Review. Pete Rugolo and His Orchestra." Metronome. November 1955. 36.
Stan Kenton in Hi-Fi. July 1956
Stan Kenton In Hi-Fi: Artistry Jumps, Interlude, Intermission Riff, Minor Riff, Collaboration, Painted Rhythm, Southern Scandal, The Peanut Vendor, Eager Beaver, Concerto to End all Concertos, Artistry in Boogie, Lover, Unison Riff (Capitol LP W 724)

Recorded in Hollywood during February, 1956, a kind of Kenton's favorites program, there are some new-old soloists added like Vido Musso, Don Paladino and Milt Bernhart. Over-all, it's a lesson in what recreation should be, the most exciting of the Kenton standards with several of his most exciting soloists in the band, the arrangements brought up-to-date and made more swinging than most of them ever were.

Many of the old criticism are readily available, but so are all the good points. So you have an exhilarating jazz package from the man who seems to own that particularly indefinable word, progressive. Incidentally, for me, these are so much more a logical extension of the brash Balboa band than were the originals.
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Stan Kenton in Hi-Fi." Metronome. July 1956: 30.
Johnny Richards. Something Else. February 1957
Something Else: Waltz Anyone? For All We Know, Dimples, Band Aide, Turn About, Burrito Borracho, Long Ago And Far Away, Aijalon (Bethlehem LP BCP 6011)

Something Else referred to in the title, is a series of new compositions and arrangements by Richards. The assembled band is 29 men strong and includes many of the names that are often heard in jazz today. Richie Kamuca, tenor; Charlie Mariano, alto; and Bill Holman in the reeds, Maynard Ferguson, Shorty Rogers, in the trumpet section, trombonist, Frank Rosolino, drummer, Stan Levy, and at piano, Marty Paich.

The band has, almost of necessity, a Kentonian sound. Since Stan pioneered this vibrant brass writing, almost anything that follows comes in reflection of him.
For All We Know seems a bit like almost any present-day ballad writing, while Waltz? shows some real rhythmic imagination especially in the bass part sections where some 6/8 elements develop. Burrito is freely translated as an inebriated donkey, and the burro moves well for one under the influence. Band Aide is the upper in the group, and aside from some rhythm section problems moves well, with a dexterous chorus by Frank Rosolino.

There's good use of all soloists here, a quantity of them spotted often on every track. Good, strong writing makes this, in many ways a weighty album, but overuse of echo chamber hampers the recording. —Jack
Jack Maher. "Record Review. Johnny Richards. Something Else." Metronome. February 1957. 32.
Rendezvous with Kenton. April 1958
Stan Kenton’s Rendezvous With Kenton (Capitol T 932) : twelve tracks recorded at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa. California, where Stan first burst into prominence and which he now plans to use as his own home-base ballroom. The songs are all ballad standards except for two. Two Shades of Autumn and Desiderata, both of which were written by Joe Coccia, who arranged the rest of the tunes in this album. Each track features a Kenton side man so that the listener hears extensively from trumpeters Sam Noto, Lee Katzman, Billy Catalano and Ed Leddy, trombonists Kent Larson, Archie Le Coque and Kenny Shroyer (bass trb.), altoist Lennie Niehaus and tenorist Bill Perkins. The standards are such as Memories of You, They Didn't Believe Me, Love Letters and I See Your Face Before Me, none of them ever recorded by Kenton before. Naturally enough, the album has a unified feeling and sound, what we've come to associate with much of West Coast writing and playing somewhat in the Bill Holman school for want of a description. It is engaging and satisfying big band fare at various tempos and in several moods. There are rare moments, too: such as Perkins and Niehaus and the arrangement on Two Shades of Autumn; and a variety of other solos and scores. If the writing and play- ing is somewhat ponderous from time to time, in the manner of some of Stan's bands, it is easily excused, at least for this listener, by the generally high quality of everything in and around it.
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Rendezvous with Kenton." Metronome. April 1958: 26.
The Ballad Style of Stan Kenton. February 1959
Stacks Image 529
Stan Kenton’s The Ballad Style of Stan Kenton (Capitol T 1068) : twelve arrangements by Stan Kenton of eleven originals such as Then I'll Be Tired of You, More Than You Know, A Sunday Kind of Love, Early Autumn, The Things We Did Last Summer, etc., and one Dale Barnhart original, When Stars Looked Down. Over-all, the set should allay any fears about whether Stan could play the typical senior prom. The music is soft, gentle, langorous, full-bodied and low-tempoed. There is a great deal of older (Opus-style) Kenton here and a little bit of Claude Thornhill by way of the Impressionists. And it all sounds wondrous and warm and exciting in that way that the full-throated and wide-armed Kenton and band can be when in this loving mood. (BC)
Bill Coss. "Record Review. The Ballad Style of Stan Kenton." Metronome. February 1959. 34.
Johnny Richards. Experiments in Sound. March 1959
Johnny Richards' Experiments in Sound (Capitol T 981) : ten tracks including such standards as What Is There To Say and No Moon at All and such Afro-Cuban things as Omo Ado, Estoy Cansado, plus a salute to Kenton, Theme from the Concerto to End All Concertos, all arrangements written by Johnny for a seventeen-piece band which is comprised of four trumpets. three trombones, four reeds, tuba percussion, piano, bass, drums and French horn, with solos blown by such as Gene Quill, Frank Socolow, Burt Collins, Ray Copland, Jim Dahl and Jimmy Cleveland. No big band album of this month (or of many other months) is as well-paced and filled with items of interest in sound rhythm or notes. Filled with Johnny's swing toward romanticism, but with angular moments, always swinging and demanding the height of musicianship from his sidemen, you will find this more than the usual big band album: it has the conventional swinging excitement, even some of the conventional solos; but it is always interested in the interesting, sometimes toying with it, but most often examining it for what will legitimately move the body and soul of the music and the orchestra into more complete fulfillment. It is, in short, an album which most listeners can listen to many times without boredom overcoming propulsion. (BC)
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Johnny Richards. Experiments in Sound." Metronome. March 1959. 35.
Pete Rugolo. Percussion at Work. April 1959
PETE RUGOLO's Percussion at Work (EmArcy MG 36122): nine tracks, eight of them written by Rugolo (including his older Artistry in Percussion) and the other by Previn, Bunker, Manne, Lewis and Rugolo, and played by a huge personnel which includes, Shelly Manne, Mel Lewis, Larry Bunker, Buddy Childers, Uan Rasey, Ed Leddy, Don Fagerquist, Milt Bernhart, Herbie Harper, Frank Rosolino, John Graas, Andre Previn and Joe Mondragon. Pete prefers to think of this as an abstract album of interesting sounds rather than specifically as a jazz set, with two basic premises: to provide a variety of rhythms and of percussive tonal effects in a colorful setting; and to commit several compositions originally written for Kenton—Artistry in Rhythm, Bongo Riff, Chorale for Brass, Piano and Bongo and Fugue for Rhythm Section—and recorded by Stan to the new possibilities of high fidelity. Ordinarily this kind of extravaganza doesn't interest me, but Pete moves his sometimes cumbersome vehicles to a sense of completeness so that even my wandering interest in the face of so much percussion is kept most generally. For those who are more intent upon percussion than I, this album is a must, and for all high fidelity bugs, there are some severe tasks for any rig. Others will certainly be interested in this cataloging of the tonal and rhythmic effects available to the modern jazz arranger. I would prefer a less obviously flamboyant emphasis on percussion, but then that is what the album is supposed to be about. (BC)
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Pete Rugolo. Percussion at Work." Metronome. April 1959. 28.
Pete Rugolo Plays Stan Kenton. July 1959
Pete Rugolo Plays Stan Kenton (Mercury SR 800i4): re-arrangements of such Kenton classics as Eager Beaver, Minor Riff, Concerto for Doghouse, Artistry in Rhythm, Opus in Pastels and Theme to the West, all tunes written by Kenton, some in collaboration with Pete, and played by a wild West Coast band which includes Al Porcino, Buddy Childers, Don Fagerquist, Milt Bernhart, Frank Rosolino, Harry Betts, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Dave Pell, Claude Williamson, Howard Roberts, Don Bagley, Red Callender and Shelly Manne. Superbly played, a minimum of solos, but the arrangements are close enough to the originals to stir the responsive reminiscences, and all of it is particularly rich in stereo. (BC)
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Pete Rugolo Plays Stan Kenton." Metronome. July 1959. 36.
Bill Russo. School of Rebellion. August 1960
School of Rebellion (Roulette R 52045): Russo the leader in many different good ways with Burt Collins, Don Stratton, Johnny Glasel, Lou Mucci, trpts; Bill Elton, Don Sebesky, Eddie Bert, Al Robertson, trbs; Paul Faulise, bass trb; Dick Meldonian, Tony Buonpastore, Larry Wilcox, Frank Socolow, Tony Ferina, reeds; Seymour Barab, Alan Shulman, Julius Ehrenwerth, Charles McCracken, celli; Irv Manning, double bass; Al Schackman, guit; Ed Shaughnessy, percussion; playing The Colden Apple, Manteca , Theme and Variations, What Is The Difference, Sonatina, Pickwick, Tanglewood, An Esthete on Clark Street.

A weekly rehearsal orchestra since January, 1959 (and planned for two years before then) and a "school for its composers, musicians and listeners," this one is a credit to its leader, composers, musicians and listeners. Very few of them have ever had it so good. And I cannot imagine the gifted Russo ever having been so satisfied with the outcome of something most artistically conceived and only possibly create-able with immense cooperation.

Each musician is personally to be complimented and among those are Sebesky, Faulise and Shaughnessy. This is a big band (and jazz) music as it should be–under control, with real dynamics (with real power and real delicacy), swinging, probing and, for God's sake, serious, which has somehow become embarrassing in this Basie era. And all this is so without pretentiousness. More time to record, perhaps (forgive me) more exceptional soloists, would have made this a fantastic album. As it is, there is nothing so good of this kind currently available in the big band catalog.—nc

9) Exceptional for this or any month : thought and Swing in one package.
NC. "Record Review. Bill Russo. School of Rebellion." Metronome. August 1960. 36-37.
Standards in Silhouette. September 1960
Standards in Silhouette (Capitol T 1394) : big band, solos mostly by Rolf Ericson, trpt; Charlie Mariano, alto; Bill Trujillo, ten; Don Sebesky, Archie LeCoque, trbs ; playing Willow Weep for Me, The Thrill ls Gone, The Meaning of the Blues, When Sunny Gets Blue, Ill Wind, Django, I Get Along Without You Very Well, Lonely Woman; arrangements by Bill Mathieu.

Moody, broad-beamed arrangements, which make the Kenton band sound twelve miles deep in size, cavern-bound in sound, of fine standards, with the usual excellent playing and fine solos, among the trees and forests of these brash brass sections.
Django, despite Mariano's excellent solo, is the only self-conscious failure in this whole batch of moody searchings through the standard repertoire. The dimensions are slight here, the moods are almost constant, but the playing is excellent, full-bodied and intrinsically swinging.—BC

7) Too much talent to be denied; not enough inspiration to be cheered.
Bill Coss. "Record Review. Standards in Silhouette." Metronome. September 1960: 33-4.
The Many Moods of Ann Richards. October 1960
The Many Moods of Ann Richards (Capitol T i406) : vocalist Richards with twelve unusual songs such as By Myself, Where Did You Go (Jordu), Lazy Afternoon, When the Sun Comes Out, I'm Late; arrangements for big band and small group by Bill Holman, exotic small group by Tak Shindo, lush by Ralph Carmichael.

If you, as this listener, have always thought of Ann Richards, the Mrs. Kenton, as being just another big band singer, this record will come as a revelation, as did Howard Lucraft's minority report from Los Angeles in the July issue. There is still some uncomfortable phrasing in her singing, some separations of words or phrases that make no sense. There are bits of June Christy and company, too. But Ann has a quality now that is closer to that most perfect singer–Teddi King. So that, with all the wild and fitting backgrounds, Ann shows more of talent than she has before and makes any future record an adventure in what can happen now.–BC

6) Debut of new talents in a singer who has not impressed us before.
Bill Coss. "Record Review. The Many Moods of Ann Richards." Metronome. October 1960. 37.
Bill Russo. Seven Deadly Sins. July 1961
Seven Deadly Sins (Roulette R 52063): Russo, composer and leader; with a twenty-one piece orchestra consisting of four trumpets; five trombones; five saxophones; four cellos; bass; guitar; and percussion; performing his Seven Deadly Sins suite: Theme; Greed; Lechery; Gluttony; Anger; Envy; Sloth; Pride; and Epilogue.

Russo is probably the most successful and finished of all the "third stream" composers because his conception is integrated. He does not write "jazz" or "classical" music, he writes only music. Unlike Gunther Schuller's recent (and unsuccessful) attempts, Russo's music does not pit a jazz element against a non-jazz element with the resulting contrast and battle for eminence. Trying to set up two opposed groups to perform music has always seemed to me an artificial way to reconcile each type of music. This dichotomy does not exist in Russo's work here.

As in Russo's only earlier recorded work of real importance, the vastly underrated and long-unrecognized
World of Alcina (Atlantic 1241), the music here moves smoothly, in an inevitable progression of organic growth from the jazz to the non-jazz elements; from swinging big band jazz to massive orchestral chords suggestive of Stravinsky; from a post-Parker alto solo to a cello solo breathtakingly and magnificently "classical." The result is contemporary music which reflects modern man; a genuine "third stream" fusion of classical and jazz principles. The group here is the same lab orchestra which recorded School of Rebellion a year or so ago for the same label. Since that time the orchestra has significantly improved. Ed Shaughnessy is apparently much more at ease behind a small combo than with this full, driving orchestra; he often gets lost in the background, and the swing seems largely to come from John Drew's bass. The cellos have been fully integrated into the orchestra and are no longer a group apart. They produce ample evidence to belie the old fable that strings can't swing.

The music itself is composed of a major theme, stated on the opening track, which is developed, sometimes circuitously, through seven "deadly sins" and is then restated in the epilogue. The "sins" are here not personified objects, but emotional states, and they are tellingly illuminated by music which, while in essence program music, is also more than this. The melodies are attractive in their own right, and the orchestration is inventive.
Lechery, for instance, makes use of a ground bass of whining cellos which builds an attitude which explores the sickness of this "sin" more than its sexuality. Anger explodes, and then broods for a time, building to a second burst of fury. Pride prances. The breadth and scope of the music is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying, and combine to make this an album to put on your shelf next to World of Alcina and those other few treasured items.

As with Russo's earlier roulette record, the sound is sumptious, and the dynamic range is extraordinary.

– TW

Ted White. "Record Review. Bill Russo. Seven Deadly Sins." Metronome. July 1961. 31-32.