All Things Kenton Blog

Festival of Jazz

Kenton fan Mike Hodges just made me aware of Sam Noto’s website, along with a great page there on the famous 1954 Stan Kenton Festival of Modern American Jazz tour.

Sam Noto, of course, was lead trumpet for the Kenton band in the mid 1950s, not to mention stints with Count Basie, Louis Bellson, and Rob McConnell.

This fantastic tour package included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Errol Garner Trio, Lee Konitz, June Christy, and Candido, along with, of course, the Stan Kenton Orchestra. The entourage performed 24 concerts in 33 days, starting in Texas and ending up in Los Angeles, with stops in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Boston, Detroit, Toronto and Seattle in between.

There were several versions of the Festival of Modern American Jazz. Other tours featured Art Tatum, Charlie Ventura, Johnny Smith, Stan Getz, Slim Gaillard, and always the Kenton crew.

Check out Sam’s page and read about this historic tour, including a YouTube link to a recoding from that tour. And if you find yourself in the Toronto or Buffalo araa, go hear him play.

[added note—I’ve added a complete section devoted to the Festival of Modern American Jazz tours. Check it out.]