When I first heard of how Stan Kenton “discovered” Pete Rugolo, I dreamt that one day he would discover me in the same manner. He didn’t. But I did get to sit down with Rugolo one summer after and talk about those days, and events since.
Although the Stan Kenton Orchestra was known for its creative writing and innovative soloists, for most of its history a vocalist shared the stage wish the instrumentalists. Some became stars and stayed for years. Others came and went so quickly as to elude any permanent record.
For fourteen months the Stan Kenton band was the most successful unit and jazz, all the while pushing the envelope of just what was and wasn’t considered jazz. He tried to abandon the dance hall and theater jobs and focus on concertizing his new breed of music he termed Progressive Jazz.