The Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra

The Concerts

Season 1, Concert 1

4 January 1965

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Fanfare
Hugo Montenegro

Commencement
Johnny Richards

Lush Waltz
Pete Rugolo
Laurindo Almeida, guitar

Opus for Timpani
Stan Kenton
Frank Carlson, percussion

Color It Brass
Marty Paich

The Sphinx
Lalo Schifren

Rhapsody in Blue
George Gershwin, arranged by Bill Holman
Jack Nimitz, baritone sax

Artemis & Apollo
Johnny Richards

Neophonic Impressions ‘65
Marty Paich

Act II

Trilogy
Bill Holman

Conflict
Pete Rugolo

Music for Piano and Band, No. 2
Friedrich Gulda
Friedrich Gulda, piano


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, Bill Hood, Chuck Gentry

TRUMPETS
Conte Candoli, Ollie Mitchell, Al Porcino, Dalton Smith, Marvin Brown

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Frank Rosolino, Lloyd Ulyate, Jim Amlotte (bs-t)

FRENCH HORNS
Jack Cave, Vince De Rosa, Bill Hinshaw, Arthur Maebe, Richard Perissi

TUBA
Red Callender

PIANO
Mike Lang

BASS
John Worster

GUITAR
Al Viola

DRUMS
Shelly Manne

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR
Stan Kenton


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

It is unlikely that one will consider last month's debut of the Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra at the city's Music Center a milestone in U.S. music.

More exciting in prospect than in reality, the fault of the Neophonic's debut lies with what the audience had been led to expect: all new music. The works by Johnny Richards and Pete Rugolo had seen performance years ago, and while this does not detract from their merit, it seems hardly in line with the stated conception of the Neophonic Orchestra (DB, Jan. 14).

Of the new music performed, Marty Paich's Neophonic Impressions '65, Bill Holman's Trilogy, and Lalo Schifrin's The Sphinx were outstanding. Friedrich Gulda, featured soloist of the evening, performed his own "neo-concerto," Music for Piano and Band, No. 2, a work naturally enough geared to the composer's considerable talent as a pianist and jazz improviser. As a composition, the concerto is shaped classically; melodically and harmonically it appears to owe more to the tradition of European light music than to jazz, the latter being in a sense superimposed on the former, Withal, Gulda's work proved a fitting climax to the concert; the audience evidently concurred, demanding an encore of the racing conclusion of the third movement.

Stan Kenton conducted the entire evening, in itself an odd fact considering the availability of all but one of the contributing composers (Richards) present at the concert. All are quite capable conductors; each would no doubt have done better by his individual composition than did Kenton, who occasionally appeared to be in difficulty with complex time signatures.

The other compositions played varied in quality. Hugo Montenegro's tour de brass- cum-percussion, Fanfare for the New, went all the way in full panoply. Richards' Commencement enabled one first to appreciate the outstandingly good acoustics of the Music Center's concert hall (when maracas cut through screaming fff trumpets, it is tribute indeed to the designer). Rugolo's Lush Waltz featured guitarist Laurindo Almeida in a lyrical, romantic setting enhanced by a most tasteful vibraharp interlude by Emil Richards. Kenton's Opus for Timpani featured Frank Carlson ensconced behind nine timpani and working hard; the work itself is a simple conception built on a phrase of eight notes—it is unambitious and communicates as such. Paich's Color It Brass, written to depict the color and depth of the brass section, proved aptly titled and illustrative of the composer's stated purpose in achieving its end efficiently and briefly. Schifrin's The Sphinx, an arresting fugal work that mounted to a swinging 4/ 4 section, was distinguished by Mike Lang's excellent piano interpretation and a highly effective percussion coda by Shelly Manne, who distinguished himself throughout the concert.

One wondered why it was decided to include Rhapsody in Blue in this debut of "neophonic" music. Fortunately for baritone saxophonist Jack Nimitz, who played variations on the theme, the choice was made, for he turned the performance into a personal triumph. But Holman's almost conventional dance-band accompaniment to Nimitz' jazz inventions proved disappointing—and puzzling.

Richards' Artemis and Apollo, at slow ballad tempo, proved a perfect vehicle for Bob Fitzpatrick's trombone as the solo voice in this lushly romantic mood piece.

Paich's Neophonic Impressions '65, a 13-minute work which closed the concert's first half, was an ambitious arid successful undertaking and provided the highest point thus far in the concert. Out of a thick-textured ensemble, the spare, dry-toned alto saxophone of Bud Shank cried out; it was followed by some gutsy tenor sax wort by Bill Perkins and trumpet solo work by Conte Candoli in which the trumpeter transcended any playing previously heard from him by this reviewer.

Following intermission, Holman's turbulent and color-rich Trilogy attested to his constantly developing stature as a composer rooted in the jazz idiom but whose horizon extends far beyond it.

Rugolo's Conflict was a well-balanced nonjazz follow-up to the Holman work. Featuring trombonist Milt Bernhardt as the leading voice in what the program described as "an emotional struggle," the work was as alternately fascinating and disturbing, thereby presumably achieving its intended aim.

The event was an unquestionable success in terms of acceptance and of considerable promise, but the organizers of forthcoming concerts would do well to concentrate less on the Kenton image and bend every effort to achieve the objective outlined by Kenton himself. There is, to be sure, more than a grain of truth in a remark overheard after the concert: "Very interesting, very Kenton; so what's new?" It is the crucial question and must be answered satisfactorily in future musical offerings if the Neophonic Orchestra is to develop and maintain a following willing to pay as much as $6 a head to listen. The series is a most laudable undertaking and a musically healthy development potentially on a par with New York’s Orchestra U.S.A. It deserves all the help it can get.

John A. Tynan


Tynan, John A. "Caught in the Act. Neophonic Orchestra, Music Center, Los Angeles." Down Beat. 25 February 1965: 15, 35.

Season 1, Concert 2

1 February 1965

Dizzy Gillespie, guest artist

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Pilgrim's Chorus from Tannhauser
Richard Wagner, arranged by Stan Kenton

Passacaglia & Fugue
Allyn Ferguson

Blues for Yna Yna
Gerald Wilson

Evolution
George Shearing

Early Start
Don Piestrup

Jazztralia
Julian Lee

Act II

Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin
Richard Wagner, arranged by Stan Kenton

An Adventure in Emotion
Russ Garcia

Four Pieces
Dizzy Gillespie
1. Jambo 
2. Fiesta Mo-Jo 
3. And Then She Stopped 
4. The Things Are Here
arranged by Gil Fuller
Dizzy Gillespie, solo


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, Bill Hood, Chuck Gentry

TRUMPETS
Conte Candoli, Ollie Mitchell, Al Porcino, Dalton Smith, Marvin Brown

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Frank Rosolino, Lloyd Ulyate, Jim Amlotte (bs-t)

FRENCH HORNS
Jack Cave, Vince De Rosa, Bill Hinshaw, Arthur Maebe, Richard Perissi

TUBA
Red Callender

PIANO
Mike Lang

BASS
John Worster

GUITAR
Al Viola

DRUMS
Shelly Manne

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR
Stan Kenton


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

The second concert of the Neophonic Orchestra was an unusual mixture of significant premieres, far-out explorations, dated but exciting big-band sounds, intimate chamber studies, and an abortive classical excursion that not only embarrassed conductor Kenton, but also made its composer, Richard Wagner, turn over in his grave.

The program began in hushed reverence with the Pilgrims' Chorus from Wagner's Tannhaeuser, but Kenton's arrangement failed to maintain its dignified solemnity as the broad, prayerful chords tended to become muddy. The playing was much cleaner after the entrance of a rapid rhythm, which, on a cushion of bongos, seemed to take off beneath the legato melodies.

Allyn Ferguson demonstrated how to write a jazz composition within a baroque framework with his highly cerebral Passacaglia and Fugue. Beginning with a mysterioso figure for contrabass clarinet, the first section was filled with intricate voicings for various sections and full band, interspersed with percussive jabs. Constructed with regard for symmetry, the passacaglia ended with a repeat of the opening theme, this time by the tuba. Without benefit of transition, the fugue (because of the limited stretto, perhaps this section is really a complex canon) began and swung with the unabashed excitement of the big-band era. The overlapping of subject and countersubject—as the various sections worked out the contrapuntal imitations—was sloppy in many places, but the piece built to a satisfying climax, strengthened by ear-shattering cymbal crashes.

Blues for Yna-Yna, by Gerald Wilson, offered an excellent change of pace in the form of a minor-key jazz waltz. Its mildly pulsating theme and characteristic descending passing tone were reminiscent of the lullaby from Khachaturian's Gayne Ballet Suite. Wilson's deft scoring and uncomplicated background apparently ignited altoist Shank and vibist Richards, who turned in outstanding solos.

One of the most enjoyable studies of the evening followed: Evolution, a light, airy chamber work for horns and woodwinds by George Shearing. Conceived in 10-bar phrases with an eight-bar bridge, the short pastorale alternated between 4/4 and 3/4, exuding an infectious, almost intoxicating headiness. The writing was matched by a brilliant performance. Kenton's conducting (the score had to be firmly controlled because of its frequent ritards) was a model of clarity, extracting a gentle swing from its (Alec) wilder moments.

A newcomer to the scene, Don Piestrup (whose writing for his own 18-piece rehearsal band in Oakland caught Kenton 's attention and led to a Neophonic commission), contributed an interesting excursion into dorian, lydian, and phrygian modes with his brief Early Start. Though devoid of key center, the work was not without form. It began softly, building to a number of internal climaxes and subsided quietly. It provided another fine showcase for Shank's alto.

Another newcomer, New Zealand-born Julian Lee, stirred up things with his cyclic, three-movement composition, Jazztralia. Based on a format of, roughly, moderate- slow-fast, the work was a well-wrought study in orchestration. Among its highlights were a short waltz for flute and guitar, followed by a tightly written "up" passage that showed Candoli's trumpet to good solo advantage; a plaintive slow movement (that featured a lachrymose alto solo by Shank); and a montage effect in which most of the themes employed were recalled.

Disaster opened the second half of the program in the form of the Prelude to Act Ill of Wagner's Lohengrin. The lack of adequate rehearsal time was obvious as the unison trumpet figures began sloppily and ended in chaos.

Kenton checked his anger, paced back and forth without acknowledging the polite applause, and finally came to the center of the stage and philosophized, "Well, as they say in the trade: 'Let's have another take.' " That seemed to ease the tension, and he turned to one of the most difficult numbers on the program, Russ Garcia 's Adventure in Emotion.

Exploring pathos, anger, tranquility, joy and love-hate-love, Garcia utilized a number of swinging psychological devices spontaneous "sounds" from various instruments based on particular scales or tone rows; brass quotes (or at least reminiscent passages) from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring; a liberal use of quarter tones; fragmented, Sauter-Finegan-like backdrops to Collette's flute solo, creating splashes of brilliant colors; and some remarkable "dialogs" between tympanist Carlson and drummer Manne and also between trombonist Fitzpatrick and flutist Shank. It was an important experiment in atonality and free form, and audience reaction seemed surprisingly hip.

Gillespie, featured soloist of the evening, had his Four Pieces arranged by Gil Fuller. The first three—Jambo , Fiesta Mola, and And Then She Stopped—were highly spiced with the bouncing, sensuous off-beat of the jazz samba. The arrangements relied heavily on the basic Latin rhythm section to project the hypnotic pulsations; above it all, Gillespie pirouetted. But musically, he sounded uninspired. Playing muted much of the time, his ideas lacked his usual spark of imagination. Complicating matters, when the full band was playing, Gillespie's comparatively soft blowing failed to cut through the concerted sound, especially on Jambo. The high point of Mo-Jo was an extended unison segment featuring Gillespie's muted horn and Collette's flute.

Gillespie's final piece, Things Are Here, taken at a jet-propelled tempo, provided the trumpeter with the opportunity to play some frantic flurries and brought the con- cert to an exciting climax.

The concert was a success for most of the premieres offered, and it proved that an original approach to composition—whether using a classical mold or merely classical instrumentation—is preferable to transcribing a classical piece for a large jazz-oriented orchestra.

—Harvey Siders



Siders, Harvey. "Caught in the Act. Dizzy Gillespie/Neophonic Orchestra." Down Beat. 25 March 1965: 29-30.

Season 1, Concert 3

1 March 1965

Jimmy Smith, guest artist

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Music for An Unwritten Play
Jim Knight

Turtle Talk
Dee Barton

Color It Green
Ralph Carmichael

Piece for Soft Brass, Woodwinds & Percussion
Clare Fischer

Slaughter on 10th Avenue
Richard Rodgers, arranged by Oliver Nelson
Jimmy Smith, organ

The Days of Wine and Roses
Henry Mancini, arranged by Claus Ogerman
Jimmy Smith, organ solo (no band)

The Sermon
Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith, organ

Walk on The Wild Side
Elmer Bernstein, arranged by Oliver Nelson
Jimmy Smith, organ

Act II

Waltz of The Prophets
Dee Barton

The Invisible Orchard
Shorty Rogers

lI Saltimbocca
Nelson Riddle
Buddy DeFranco, clarinet


PERSONNEL

REEDS Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, John Lowe, Chuck Gentry

TRUMPETS Conte Candoli, Ollie Mitchell, Al Porcino, Dalton Smith, Ronnie Ossa

TROMBONES Bob Fitzpatrick, Gil Falco Vern Friley, Jim Amlotte (bs-t)

FRENCH HORNS Jack Cave, Vince De Rosa, Bill Hinshaw, Arthur Maebe, Richard Perissi

TUBA
Sam Rice

PIANO Milt Raskin

BASS John Worster

GUITAR John Gray

DRUMS Shelly Manne

PERCUSSION Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR Stan Kenton


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

The third concert of the Neophonic’s first season had more peaks and fewer low spots than either of its predecessors.

Jim Knight, a 25-year-old Louisianan and product of the celebrated North Texas State Lab Band, wrote the opening work, Music for an Unwritten Play, listed in the program as “a composition in three movements, allowing the listener to create his own imaginary drama.” After a couple of minutes of contemplative mood-setting, it gradually broke into tempo, with some well-placed Raskin piano fills adding a welcome touch of spontaneity. Altoist Shank was featured later, his admirable sound and style punctuated by and enveloped in a profusion of orchestral developments around him.

The Knight piece generally made good use of the horns and brass and sustained a variety of colors and moods, leading unexpectedly (but not unpleasantly) to a simple bravura ending on the tonic.

Turtle Talk, written by Dee Barton, is a quixotic work based on the whole-tone scale. Perhaps this is a quibble, but its inclusion as a neophonic item seemed questionable when one recalled Don Redman’s Chant of the Weed (1931) or Coleman Hawkins’ Queer Notions (1933), which certainly were neophonic in their day. The solos by Candoli, Shank, and Falco maintained the spirit of the work very well.

Ralph Carmichael’s Color It Green was a more original and stimulating piece. Opening with a hint of Greensleeves’ mood, it built from a sequence played by four flutes and bass clarinet to some very Kenton-like brass. There was some interesting pyramiding of solos by Perkins, Shank, and Candoli; the cumulative effect of the blowing by one, then two, then three horns was one of the high spots of the evening. Manne, whose consistency was one of the stablest and most dependable elements of the concert, soloed the way into a bright and invigorating final movement.

After Carmichael’s work there was considerable shuffling around as many of the musicians left the stage, and the French horn players walked over to join the trombonists. What was left of the orchestra then played Clare Fischer’s Piece for Soft Brass, Woodwinds, and Percussion.

Fischer made sure that every possible variation of timbre was employed in this almost endlessly diversified work. The sax writing was particularly brilliant, with occasional Ellington touches. There were many permutations to keep the attentive ear busily and happily engaged: Perkins and Shank with Richards’ vibes backing them up; a blues waltz featuring baritone saxophone, then piccolo and baritone, piccolo-flute-alto-baritone, etc. There was enough substance here to make a full appraisal on one hearing impossible; but subjectively, the first time around, Fischer’s work was a rewarding experience.

Some artists have antennae that are exceptionally sensitive to ·a draft on stage or in the audience. When they feel this draft, they cannot or will not give. This seems to be what happened with organist Smith, in his sometimes exciting but never optimum-level set of four tunes.

Slaughter on 10th Avenue, the Oliver Nelson arrangement, did not quite achieve the engaging mood of Smith’s recording of it. At times Smith’s sound did not stand out enough from the orchestra. Next, instead of the programed Wives and Lovers, he played a very slow unaccompanied The Days of Wine and Roses that seemed less geared to Monday evening than to Sunday morning. Then came a blues, with Manne offering strong support, Smith cooking briefly, and Raskin beaming and looking as if he wished he could sit in. The romping Nelson arrangement of Elmer Bernstein’s Walk on the Wild Side ended Smith’s portion of the program, and on it Smith and the orchestra seemed to jell, though again there was lacking a certain intangible magic that Smith brings to his best performances.

Barton’s Waltz of the Prophets, which opened the second half, was replete with Gospel-funk cliches and relied so much on the whole-tone scale that it could as well have been called Turtle Talk, Pt. II.

Three excerpts were then presented from Shorty Rogers’ ballet The Invisible Orchard. Over-all, this seemed the most successful, and perhaps even the most neophonic work of the evening. All three movements bristled with enough swinging spontaneity, at one tempo or another, to lend the performance an unmistakable jazz character.

Since the three parts offered were actually Scenes 1, 6, and 8 of the ballet, they cannot be assessed in terms of general continuity, but it was enough that they showed an inherent validity, and that in this orchestration Rogers put to full use the spectrum of instrumental sounds at his disposal, from tuba to bass saxophone to vibes to guitar to flute. There were occasional uncertainties of performances but not enough to mar the effect. Special credit is due Richards, Candoli, Perkins, and Raskin for their soloing in the work and Shank for his flute playing.

The finale was a showcase for DeFranco, written by his old-time Tommy Dorsey colleague Nelson Riddle and humorously titled ll Saltimbocca, with equally wry subtitles for the movements: ll Vitello, ll Proscuitto, ll Spinace. Somber French horns introduced the first movement before DeFranco moved in his pure sound playing a melody mostly in half and quarter notes. The second movement teamed his clarinet with trombones in a puckish theme.

DeFranco switched to bass clarinet for the third movement and was backed by muted trumpets, three flutes, and two Bb clarinets. There was some fast waltz ad libbing on bass clarinet that offered opportunity to gauge how much DeFranco can and probably will accomplish on this instrument. For the finale he switched back to Bb clarinet to wail with a full ensemble, Manne and Worster lending considerable weight and movement to the whole. The closing bars provided a stunning showcase for DeFranco’s matchless virtuosity.

The audience reacted warmly, and the performance deserved it; yet one was left with the feeling that what made DeFranco an international name-his gift for jazz improvisation-had been relegated to second place in a work that for the most part could have been played by any first-rate studio clarinetist. For the few moments in which the real DeFranco shone through, though, ll Saltimbocca justified its performance.

For all the shortcomings, though, the concert, on the whole, was the most successful and the most jazz-oriented of the three presented so far. 

—Leonard Feather 



Feather, Leonard G. "Caught in the Act. Buddy DeFranco/Jimmy Smith/Neophonic Orchestra, Music Center, Los Angeles." Down Beat. 22 April 1965: 42.

Season 1, Concert 4

29 March 1965

Mel Torme, guest artist
Marty Paich, guest conductor

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Prelude and Fugue
John Williams

Children at Play
Jack Quigley

Here and Now
Bob Florence

Three B's for Percussion
Van Alexander

Incident at State Beach
Lyn Murray

Act II

California Suite
Mel Torme, orchestrations by Marty Paich & Allyn Ferguson
Mel Torme, soloist
Marty Paich, conductor


PERSONNEL

REEDS Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, John Lowe, Don Lodice

TRUMPETS Conte Candoli, Ollie Mitchell, Al Porcino, Dalton Smith, Ronnie Ossa

TROMBONES Bob Fitzpatrick, Gil Falco Vern Friley, Jim Amlotte (bs-t)

FRENCH HORNS Jack Cave, Vince De Rosa, Bill Hinshaw, Arthur Maebe, Richard Perissi

TUBA John Bainbridge

PIANO Milt Raskin

BASS John Worster

GUITAR John Gray

DRUMS Shelly Manne

PERCUSSION Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR Stan Kenton


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

With some 500 would-be listeners turned away from a capacity house of 3,250 at the Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra’s final concert of the season, the Stan Kenton-inspired series passed into history as an undoubted success in its first run.

The concert, the highlight of which was a full-dress public premiere of Mel Torme’s California Suite, grossed $16,275, according to Sid Garris, secretary-treasurer of the sponsoring International Academy of Contemporary Music.

Though the first season of the Neophonic could be counted successful in terms of public acceptance, its musical accomplishments were hardly revolutionary and were memorable only in part. This final concert, in fact, comprised for the most part lightweight offerings, climaxed and closed by the Torme work.

Frankly a frothily commercial opus born of a Broadway musical mother and a jazz-wise father, California Suite outdoes any chamber of commerce effort. The lyric of its principal theme starts with: “We think the West Coast is the best coast in the land…” and continues in this general vein, possibly plunging to a nadir with: “We are quite sure a/Few days in Ventura…”

Though musically a sight work, the suite—performed with string section and choir added to the orchestra—is sentimental and lyrically melodic. Conducted by orchestrator Marty Paich, who, with Allyn Ferguson, prepared the work for public performance, the suite was composed in 1949 and released on record the following year. Thus its performance by the Neophonic contradicts—as have other works played in the series—Kenton’s originally stated aim of performing only new music.

With a crisply defined vocal foil in Betty Bennett, Torme, now 39, was in top singing form, reasserting his primacy in jazz singing, notably in his scatting with a dektet from the orchestra. Soloists valve trombonist Bob Enevoldsen and trumpeter Conte Candoli were heard briefly in the up-tempo San Francisco section of the piece. In his vibrantly warm solo on the ballad Poor Little Extra Girl, Torme’s phrasing was impeccable and notably similar to that of Frank Sinatra.

In its genre, California Suite is pleasant, entertaining light music. It was obviously adored by the audience, which responded with sustained applause for this generous sample of good, clean, All-Amer…All- Californian fun.

The program opened with John Williams’ me1odic tone row, Prelude and Fugue. Though dedicated to bandleader Claude Thornhill, the impressionistic work sounded in part the product of the composer’s brushing up on vintage Kenton. Virile and vigorous, the piece was high- lighted by a climax-building alto saxophone solo by Bud Shank, who these days is playing at inspired heights and who must be considered one of the pre-eminent heroes of the Neophonic.

Jack Quig]ey’s “musical view of the little people,” Children at Play, sharply disappointed. The opening section, So Serious, was boring, flaccid, and disjointed in over-all feeling. The second part, Quite Curious, was pretentious tedium. The final section, Fast ‘n’ Furious, was lost to life despite the remarkable percussive work of Shelly Manne.

Bob Florence’s Here and Now was a very effective “suite for jazz orchestra.” In the work’s first movement, Sonata Allegro, reeds in shifting time signatures jockeyed into 4/4, and a tenor solo by Bill Perkins was followed by a colloquy between the tenorist and trumpeter Candoli, both of whom impressed with imaginative, forthright statements.

Milt Raskin contributed tasteful, piano in the second part, Slow Song, as did Candoli and Shank, the latter’s playing shimmering with brightly crusted lyricism backed by a tartly edged alto sound unique in jazz today.

The closing Jazz Waltz Fugue, the pace for which was set by drummer Manne’s pulsing 3/4 drive, shone with a glittering solo by vibraharpist Emil Richards and Florence’s tidy contrapuntal weavings.

The trouble with Van Alexander’s The Three B’s for Percussion, written for “augmented percussion section (4), utilizing over 20 different percussion sounds,” was that before the piece drew to a close, one felt almost overwhelmed by this exotica in percussion: Bangkok all Oriental and gongy; Brazil tres gay with overlaid mardi gras Brazilliance; and Bora-Bora stamped all over with Marlon Brando (or Jon Hall, depending on one’s age); the raw-edge-of-the-reef, and happy primitives cavorting on the white sand. Nice novelty and barely divertissement sums up this exercise.

With a scheduled work by Gil Melle scratched, intermission was preceded by a humor-laden work from Lyn Murray, Incident at State Beach, described in the program notes as “four movements pas de deux featuring four soloists based on a universal theme: boy sees chick, boy chases chick, chick gets boy.”

The movement dubbed Early had Candoli’s trumpet soaring with French horns and then Shank’s flute, followed by the tuba featured in a splash of deliberately hammy program-music circa 1910. Some excellent Shank alto followed.

Then came the jazz high point of the concert: a duet between Shank and tenorist Perkins, which blazed and burned for its duration. Candoli’s follow-up trumpet was hard put to avoid anticlimax, yet avoid it he did.

Parts 2 and 3 were titled Muscles and The Girl; the final section was The Chase, and a funnier chase bas seldom been heard in contemporary music. Murray’s writing for brass in the final sequence stirred the audience to bursts of delighted laughter—praise for a composer-with-a-message.

The Neophonic Orchestra is now established. May its second and subsequent seasons benefit from hearty gusts of wind at its back—where it counts the most.

John A. Tynan


Tynan, John A. "Caught in the Act. Neophonic Orchestra, Music Center, Los Angeles." Down Beat. 20 May 1965: 34.

Season 2, Concert 1

10 January 1966

Gerry Mulligan, guest artist

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Solo for Orchestra
Bob Cooper
Bud Shank & Bob Cooper, soloists

Piece for Orchestra
Oliver Nelson

Moodamorphosis
Chuck Sponder
Bob Cooper, Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Conte Candoli, Soloists

Music for Baritone Saxophone & Orchestra
Bill Holman & Gerry Mulligan, arranged by Bill Holman
Gerry Mulligan, Soloist

Act II

Vasa
Earl Zindars

Atonal Adventure
Lennie Niehaus

Something for Horns
Bill Jolly

Transient Moods
Mort Stevens


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, Bill Hood, Chuck Gentry

TRUMPETS
Gary Barone, Conte Candoli, Ronnie Ossa, Dalton Smith, Ray Triscari

TROMBONES
Lou Blackburn, Bob Fitzpatrick, Vern Friley, Ernie Tack

FRENCH HORNS
Jack Cave, Vince De Rosa, Bill Hinshaw, Arthur Maebe

TUBA
John Bambridge

PIANO
Don Abney

BASS
Bob West

GUITAR
Al Viola

DRUMS
Nick Ceroli

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR
Stan Kenton


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

Perhaps more than any of last year’s concerts, this season’s first Neophonic concert seemed to capture the bold, blithe spirit of the sponsoring organization’s stated objectives. For the most part, the compositions and performances were such that no classical or symphony ensemble could have brought to a reading of the same notes anything remotely resembling the same level of emotional communication. The first half of the program, in fact, was almost totally successful. The opener was Solo for Orchestra, featuring the composer, Bob Cooper, on oboe, Bud Shank on alto saxophone and flute, and a kaleidoscopic series of ensemble moods. Cooper achieved a rich textural variety while frequently retaining a pulsating jazz atmosphere, along with changes of mood, tempo, and dynamics. In other words, he wrote a Third Stream piece that came from in­ side the heart of jazz and was the more successful for it.

The second work was an Oliver Nelson original, Piece for Orchestra. It opened as a fairly simple 6/4 theme, introduced by saxophone. Later passages made heavy use of the percussion section, and a sequence in 12/8 achieved a joyous, invigorating mood. Though not one of Nelson’s most consistently successful pieces, it produced many rewarding moments.

Next came something called Moodamorphosis, by Chick Spondor. Both in terms of audience reaction and musical validity, this was one of the most successful efforts of the evening. Spondor made ingenious use of the whole tonal range of the orchestra and achieved a high point with a masterly interplay involving some wildly exciting simultaneous improvisation by Cooper, Shank, and Bill Perkins.

Moodamorphosis might have been even more successful bad it reached its peak at this point and then stopped; but Spondor chose to let it run on for several more minutes, most of which seemed anti­climactic, especially since much of Conte Candoli’s solo work (on this and other numbers) was lost in the acoustical jumble or in the excessively heavy background.

The first half concluded with the appearance of Kenton’s guest star of the evening, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Music for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra represented a happy collaboration between Mulligan, as writer of the themes, and Bill Holman as orchestrator. Mulligan’s tweedy sound was a joy to hear. As always, and his opening theme, a waltz, with a downward-spiraling harmonic and melodic movement, was the. most attractively melodic heard all evening.

After intermission, the low point of the concert was reached when, for no apparent reason Mort Sahl, the Cassius Clay of the comedy circuit, came on for a series of utterly irrelevant comments, some of them in questionable taste. Kenton would be well advised to do more talking himself and keep the stage free at all times of undignified elements.

The second half’s opener was Vasa by Earl Zindars, a San Francisco writer recommended to Kenton by Bill Evans. It was the only item of the evening that was content to swing in 4/4 throughout, relying for its effects on great skill in melody, harmony, and improvisation (notably a fine guitar passage by John Gray).

Vasa was followed by Atonal Adventure, the adventurer being altoist Lennie Niehaus. This ran a little too long, but its dissonances made sense, and it was the only work of the evening that made extensive and meaningful use of atonality along with the essence of jazz.

Bill Jolly’s Something for Horns was introduced with verbal fanfare by Kenton as a medium for display of the French horn section. It didn’t come off. The horns’ phrasing was stiff at times, though part of the problem lay in the writing, which was not particularly imaginative and certainly not neophonic. In fact, as far as its harmonic content was concerned, it could have been written by a contemporary of Fletcher Henderson

Finally there was a piece by Morty Stevens, the Hollywood studio arranger. Written in a bravura style with great skill and little soul, much intricacy and less inspiration, it was a throwback to the kind of thing heard too often at last year’s neophonic concerts. Appropriately, it was entitled Transient Moods.

If Kenton continues to draw heavily on composers whose roots are substantially in jazz and not in classical music, as he appeared to this evening in accepting works from Cooper, Nelson, Spondor, Holman, and Zindars, he will achieve what would appear to be this orchestra’s main goal, welding the two idioms in a manner appealing to adherents of both. He will also attract big, enthusiastic audiences.

— Leonard Feather

Feather, Leonard G. "Caught in the Act. Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Music Center." Down Beat. 24 February 1966: 36.

Season 2, Concert 2

7 February 1966

The Don Ellis Hindustani Jazz Sextet
Shelly Manne and his Men
guest artists

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Fusion
Frank Comstock

Sally IV
Duane Tatro

Synthesis
Don Ellis
Don Ellis & Hindustani Jazz Sextet

Act II

Tribute to A Poltergeist
J. Hill

Lonely Afternoon
Bobby Troup, orchestrated by Bob Envoldsen

Calvelli's Dance
Bobby Troup, orchestrated by Bob Envoldsen

Crescendo and Diminuendo for Quintet and Orchestra
Dave Grusin


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, Don Ludice, John Lowe

TRUMPETS
Gary Barone, Conte Candoli, Ronnie Ossa, Dalton Smith, Ray Triscari

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Lou Blackburn, Vern Friley, Ernie Tack

FRENCH HORNS
Jack Cave, Vince De Rosa, Bill Hinshaw, Arthur Maebe, Richard Perissi

TUBA
John Bambridge

PIANO
Don Abney

BASS
Bob West

GUITAR
John Gray

DRUMS
Nick Ceroli

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR
Stan Kenton

The Don Ellis Hindustani Jazz Sextet
Don Ellis – trumpet; Gabe Baltazar – alto sax/flute; Emil Richards – vibes; Dave Mackay – piano; Chuck Domanico – bass; Hari Har Rao – sitar/dholak/table

Shelly Manne and his Men
Conte Candoli – trumpet; Frank Strozier – alto sax; Russ Freeman – piano; Monte Budwig – bass; Shelly Manne – drums


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

This concert was not so much a confrontation of jazz conception and classical form, but that of large band greeting small ensemble, and, more significantly, East meeting West.

The twain met in Synthesis, a brilliant exploration of Indian rhythms and Eastern scales by Ellis, who integrated his seven-piece Hindustani Jazz Sextet with the Neophonic for 40 pulsating minutes. The mood varied from introspective to orgiastic. The time signatures fluctuated from 7 /4 to 19/8.

Prefacing the composition with a technical explanation of the two Indian ragas upon which the work was based, Ellis, in the performance, proved his claim that Indian music employs "the most sophisticated rhythmic system in the world."

Rao (a disciple of Ravi Shankar) opened the work with a meditative sitar solo. The instrument's twang elicited a few giggles at the outset, but when the final, ear-shattering outburst by the combined forces had stopped reverberating throughout the Music Center, a tumultuous roar of approval came from the audience.

The Ellis performance was an amazing display of solo and group virtuosity: Ellis' searching solos, with liberal use of quarter tones on his specially built, four-valve trumpet; Mackay's pedal-point drones on the tamboura; Baltazar's vibratoless lament on alto; the interplay between Domanico's bass and Rao's expert table drumming; the syncopated hand-clapping during Rao's dholak solo; the fascinating "Indian scat" by the sextet members, based on the sound made by the tablas; the contrapuntal weaving of lines by the group, with Ellis' muted trumpet and Baltazar's high-register alto conjuring up some Dixieland licks (could this be raga-time?); and above all, the intense vibes solo by Richards that cut through the accompanying orchestra and sextet.

As for the accompaniment, Kenton deserves the highest praise for maintaining a perfect balance over the fiendishly complex rhythmic patterns. (At rehearsal the day before, when asked what the biggest problem was, trombonist Vern Friley quipped, "Finding 1.")

The concert's other works that resorted to the 18th-century device of concerto grosso were Duane Tatro's Sally IV and Dave Grusin's Crescendo and Diminuendo for Quintet and Orchestra (the quintet was Manne's).

Tatro's work was not too satisfying emotionally, but it provided an interesting study in orchestral timbres. Utilizing a front line of baritone saxophone, flute, alto saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, Sally IV alternated between a brooding rubato and jet-propelled passages. There were some interesting doublings with piccolo, oboe, and contrabass clarinet set against a brass chorale. Most impressive was Shank's quarter-tone sorties on flute.

Closer to the jazz mainstream, Grusin's piece resorted to 4/4 and 3/4 to spread its neophonic message. The result was gratifying.

The performance proved that Manne is a master; he not only laid down the tempo changes in his flawless manner but also drove the quintet and the band with him. Among the high points: a pivotal figure by Freeman that returned as a quasi-riff; a free-form section with a dialog of trills by Strozier and Candoli (the phrasing by these two reveals an amazing affinity); and a flashy, but not pretentious, mallet demonstration by Manne.

Frank Comstock's Fusion developed gradually and logically from a mysterioso fragment deep in the contrabass clarinet to some hard-biting brass explosions as the tempo shifted from slow and moody to funky in a multiple of three. Shank's flute cadenza over wide-open brass voicings was especially beautiful.

Why Tribute to a Poltergeist was so named, only its composer, J. Hill, knows. Surely nothing in the music gave a clue. Also, nothing in the score justified its inclusion among the more adventuresome neophonic entries. But that didn't prevent it from swinging in the unabashed big band genre of the '40s. It came on strong from the top and maintained its pace throughout, featuring a first-rate tenor solo by Cooper.

Bobby Troup was represented by two short, contrasting, eclectic works: the impressionistic Lonely Afternoon, and the lively galop, Calvelli's Dance. Bob Enevoldsen was represented by his tasteful orchestration of the pair.

Sherman's piano solo on Lonely recalled Erik Satie's Gymnopedies in its transparent simplicity. The only complaint that could be registered was the overuse of bass clarinets as an anchor. Otherwise, the work was imbued with an idyllic charm.

Calvelli's immediately brought to mind Kabalevsky's The Comedians. It was the type of short, exciting composition that guaranteed a spontaneous burst of applause. What was entirely unexpected was the dance executed by Kenton.

It was an outstanding concert—one that obviously advanced Kenton's neophonic cause, while establishing Ellis as one of the most articulate neophonic voices. Kenton should be proud of the men in his orchestra. In spite of the paucity of rehearsal time, they revealed their level of professionalism with an awesome display of responsiveness to the written demands.

—Harvey Siders



Siders, Harvey. "Caught in the Act. Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra, Music Center, Los Angeles." Down Beat. 24 March 1966: 47-8.

Season 2, Concert 3

7 March 1966

Bill Russo, guest conductor
Cal Tjader Quintet, guest artists

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

The New World
Franklyn Marks

Contemplations
Paul Ruhland

Tangents
Dick Grove
Cal Tjader Quintet, soloists

Act II

Stonehenge
Richard Peaslee

Requiem
Bill Russo


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, Don Ludice, John Lowe

TRUMPETS
Gary Barone, Conte Candoli, Ronnie Ossa, Dalton Smith, Ray Triscari

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Lou Blackburn, Vern Friley, Jim Amlotte (b-tb)

FRENCH HORNS
Vince De Rosa, Arthur Maebe, Henry Sigesmonti, Richard Perissi, George Price

TUBA
John Bambridge

PIANO
Ray Sherman

BASS
Bob West

GUITAR
Ron Anthony

DRUMS
Larry Bunker

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR
William Russo

Cal Tjader Quintet
Cal Tjader – vibes; Al Zulaica – piano; Monk Montgomery – bass; John Rae – drums; Armando Peraza – Latin percussion

The Jimmy Jones Voices
Jean Sewell, Ray Johnson

Additional musicians on Act II only
Fred Sekora, Jessie Ehrlich, Victor Sazer, Ray Kelley – cello


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

A less dynamic, but not less musical approach to conducting highlighted the season’s third neophonic concert, as Stan Kenton surrendered his usual place on the podium to guest conductor Russo.

No stranger to jazz-flavored resident orchestras, Russo (who founded his own Chicago Jazz Ensemble) provided an interesting contrast to the Neophonic’s permanent leader while charting the same course of contemporary exploration.

Russo is the more meticulous craftsman the more scholarly conductor, whose classical orientation shows through his metronomic time-keeping and unmistakable cues.

As for the music, the Neophonic sound was perpetuated with five contrasting compositions. The first, by Franklyn Marks was The New World, which quoted loosely from Anton Dvorak’s New World Symphony. It began with muted brass and piccolo, and from the misty effect of slow, broad voicings, a lively up-tempo section evolved, distributing fragmented themes throughout all sections of the orchestra.

Candoli’s muted solo and Fitzpatrick’s trombone comments highlighted a slow, pensive section. Another fast-tempo passage had brief reed solos—Shank on piccolo, Cooper on oboe, and Perkins on alto—followed by an incisive climax.

Viennese-born composer Paul Ruhlan [sic] was represented by a wearisome, overly long work, Contemplations. Bowed bass and tuba in unison, accompanied by impressionistic piano arpeggios, led to a fast waltz, which was followed by an up-tempo 4/4 section and a sparkling Shank alto solo. Bombastic brass statements seemed to lead nowhere. Additional boredom set in at a slower tempo with the brass proddings behind an alto saxophone lament. The slow section dragged interminably with CandoIi’s muted solo the only bright spot. The brass proddings continued until the piece concluded in the midst of forced dramatics.

To Ruhlan’s credit must go the decision to a sign a solo spot to bass trombone. Amlotte’s statement, over West’s bowed tremolo, proved rewarding. The bass trombone has a resonance that makes it an ideal solo vehicle, but it has been too often overlooked at the Neophonic concerts.

Dick Grove wasted no time in getting the musicians into his four-part swinger Tangents. Dissonant pyramids led right into the work, which pitted the Cal Tjader Quintet against the full orchestra. The first section was a driver in which Tjader got off exciting improvisations. Tjader also dominated the second section with a moody, contemplative solo. The orchestra’s rhythm section broke loose in the jet-propelled third movement. The final section was a long montuna, brought to fever pitch by Peraza’s conga playing. The conga drummer lent a frenzy to the concert that conjured up Don Ellis’ Hindustani jazz at the previous concert. Preserving symmetry, Grove closed his work with the pyramids that unveiled it.

For the second half of the concert, Russo divided the orchestra, augmented by four cellos, into two equal groupings.

Appropriately, Richard Peaslee’s Stonehenge seemed to be hewn out of granite. The dissonance of its opening chord clust­ers was made more. penetrating by the violent brass shakes. The second section made good use of the cellos, beginning impressionistically and building to a series of climaxes. While the brass gave these climaxes the usual jazz feel, a more legitimate, vibratoless interpretation was needed.

Peaslee evidently was thinking less symphonically in the third section—a good, driving movement with a running theme tossed back and forth between saxes and brass in such a way as to simulate a fugue. Excellent solos were contributed by Cooper and Enevoldsen. The final movement had a blues-tinged opening by cellos and gathered dynamic momentum until it swelled to a Respighi-like climax.

The concert ended on a note of soulful beauty as Russo added a nine-voice chorus, with baritone and contralto soloists, for his composition In Memoriam. The work contained many aspects of a requiem, but it was permeated by a subtle jazz flavor, occasional Ellingtonia (especially in the brass-with-plunger riffs), and even some revival type of rhythm-and-blues.

The warmth of Jean Sewell’s contralto and the blues feeling of Ray Johnson’s baritone, plus the effective simplicity of Russo’s writing made his five-part work the most rewarding of the evening.

The guitar and percussion behind Miss Sewell established the mood of swinging reverence Immediately. The rhythm-and­blues vamp behind Johnson in the second movement was punctuated by tambourine. Highlighting the third movement was the chorus’ intoning Requiern aeternam in modern voicings over the combined walking of bass and cellos. Bunker’s meaningful percussion outbursts aided a series of internal climaxes in the same movement.

Johnson slid up to the notes of his fourth-movement solo a la Johnny Hodges. A subtle shuffle in the background was spiced by Enevoldsen’s fine trombone work. The instrumental section that followed Johnson’s solo was much too long; all that had to be said was said by the baritone. A sensual bass line provided an excellent foundation for Miss Sewell’s blue notes in the finale. The movement reached a climax midway and then settled down to a mournful conclusion.

— Harvey Sliders


Siders, Harvey. "Caught in the Act. Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Music Center." Down Beat. 21 April 1966: 40, 42.

Season 2, Concert 4

4 April 1966

North Texas State University One O’clock Lab Band, guest artists

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Four Pieces for Neophonic Orchestra
Tommy Vig

Sinfonia
William Fritz

Figures in Rotation
Gil Melle

Rock City
Bob Mayer

Stool Pigeon
Dick Nash
Dick Nash, George Roberts, solos

Act II

North Texas State Lab Band

Rabble Rouser
Billy Byers

The Thrill Is Gone
Brown-Henderson, arranged by Don Dimick

Eliz
Toby Guynn, arranged by Jay Pruitt

Concertino
Dan Haerle

Montage
Composite from Lab Band Music Library

Here and Now (Part III)
Bob Florence

Two Voices
Jim Knight
Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra and North Texas State Lab Band


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Bud Shank, Bill Perkins, Buddy Collette, Don Ludice, John Lowe

TRUMPETS
Gary Barone, Conte Candoli, Ronnie Ossa, Dalton Smith, Ray Triscari

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Lou Blackburn, Vern Friley, Jim Amlotte (b-tb)

FRENCH HORNS
Jack Cave, Vince De Rosa, Bill Hinshaw, Arthur Maebe

TUBA
John Bambridge

PIANO
Ray Sherman

BASS
Bob West

GUITAR
Ron Anthony

DRUMS
Larry Bunker

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR
William Russo

North Texas State University One O’clock Lab Band

REEDS
John Giordano, Tim Bell, Lou Marini, Ray Loeckle, Tom Boras

TRUMPETS
Larry Ford, Jay Saunders, Bill Stapleton, Galen Jeter, James Scaggiari

TROMBONES
Mike Heathman, Connie Seidel, Ray Campbell, Rick McCarthy, Joe Randazzo (b-tb)

PIANO
Dan Haerle

BASS
John Monaghan

GUITAR
Tom Bruner

DRUMS
Ed Soph

VIBES
Bill Farmer

CONDUCTOR
Leon Breeden


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

This, the last concert of the season for the Neophonic, was highlighted by the guest appearance of the excellent North Texas Lab Band. I did not hear the first concert, which featured Gerry Mulligan, but of the other three, this was easily the jazziest, although I believe it must take second place in the lasting importance of its music to the concert conducted by Bill Russo, the season’s third.

The Neophonic played the first half of the concert, and the Texas band held forth after the intermission, joined in the finale performance by the Neophonic.

The concert opened with Tommy Vig’s Four Pieces for neophonic Orchestra. The four segments were Freedom! Freedom!, The Lost Love, Serious Fun and Fusion. It was excellent.

The first part began as a fast tempo, with noteworthy solo contributions from Cooper, Perkins, and Blackburn. The second movement features a nice flute ensemble section and an outstanding vibraharp solo by Richards, who I believe, has no peers on that instrument. In the last two portions, there were more flute ensembles (well written and played), some interesting Shank clarinet work, a marvelous trumpet solo by young Barone, bold solo bass work by West, and wailing alto by Perkins.

Next was a composition by William Fritz titled Sinfonia, further described in the program notes as a “symphony in miniature.” Fritz has good formal credentials, including study with Russo and Alexander Tcherepnin. He has worked with several big bands (including Kenton’s) and currently is director of the jazz ensemble at the California Institute of the Arts.

Sinfonia was safe and polite. There were nice solos by Shank on alto and by Candoli (playing like himself and like Miles Davis, too), plus a good unison French horn passage.

Gil Melle’s Figures in Rotation was absorbing music and, for me, was one of the three or four outstanding works performed by the Neophonic in the two years of its existence. The piece was described as a “polymetric work in which the marimba is featured in an extended improvisation; an extrapolation of four themes in a single movement.” The voicings were beautiful and included lovely passages for baritone and bass clarinets, trombone ensembles, and airy but moody lines for three flutes and the guitar. Richard wove the marimba through this in masterly fashion. It obviously was very difficult music to play; it challenged the listener while remaining accessible, and it evolved with complete naturalness from part to part. At the climax, bass clarinet, flute, guitar, and wood block melded with a light sound from the brass section. The brass then held to a merger with a dramatic and unusually effective final passage—a sighing, moaning wind effect produced by one of Carlson’s pieces of equipment.

Bob Mayer is a composer of contemporary classical music and an alumnus of North Texas State, but his piece Rock City—’’an extension of the folk-rock idiom,” according to the program notes—was based on questionable thematic material and though lively, was, I believe, hamstrung from the beginning by the mediocrity of its starting grounds. It was a “rapid” piece that featured fast transitions, never settled into any groove, and thus never allowed the listener to become involved in any consistent intellectual or emotional way. It was nervous.

Stool Pigeon by trombonist Dick Nash closed the first half. It was “inspired [sic] by the private life of the Master Race, by Bertolt Brecht and written for two trombones.” It was corny, melodramatic, demonstrative concert brass-band music. Soloists Nash and Roberts played very well throughout, and their interplay was impressive. There was a pyramid to a big ending! I headed for the wings to get some cotton candy, peanuts, and pop.

You’ll never hear a band play more togetherness than the North Texas band. Its sound style, and genuineness are tributes to the validity of the entire stage band movement. This orchestra is strictly a jazz band, and it never lets down in professional quality and thoroughness. It is no criticism to say that the group’s soloists are no match, by and large, for the excellence of the orchestra itself.

The Texas band’s part of the program began with Billy Byers’ Rabble Rouser, which emphasized the band’s unity, followed by The Thrill Is Gone, which was nicely orchestrated by student Don Dimick but which had a tenor solo by Marini that, while articulate, displayed an awful sound.

Two student compositions followed. These were Eliz by Toby Guynn, orchestrated by Jay Pruit, and Concertina by pianist Haerle. Both pieces showed surprising maturity and admirable conservatism that avoided show-biz effects. Soloists were Bell on alto and Jeter on trumpet on the first and trumpeter Stapleton, altoist Giordano, and trombonist Heathman on the second. Both trumpeters failed to build and, instead, kind of wandered (if gracefully) through their parts. The saxophonists seemed more concerned with getting that hip sound than with construction. But all the raw materials were happily obvious.

Montage followed, and after a few words from director Breeden about the band, there ensued unprogramed performances of ‘Round Midnight, which was routine, and a piece allowing drummer Soph to solo. He is a mature player who carried out a nonexhibitionistic demon­ stration. To close the concert North Texas alumnus Jim Knight offered Two Voices, “a suite in three movements (a premiere work especially composed for two orchestras).” Shank had a good alto solo, and tenors Perkins and Marini exchanged solos (with the latter exhibiting improved tone for some reason). But the piece itself was a boring collection of background music effects that never got off the ground.

—John William Hardy



Hardy, John William. "Caught in the Act. Neophonic Orchestra / North Texas State Lab Band, Music Center, Los Angeles." Down Beat. 2 June 1966: 37-9.

Season 3, Concert 1

19 February 1968

Cannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery, Ray Reed
guest artists

PROGRAM

Act I

Fanfare for the New
Hugo Montenegro

Bygones
Willie Maiden

Three Sounds for Neophonic Orchestra
Alf Clausen

Passion Suite
Dee Barton
Ray Reed, Jay Daversa, soloists

Theme, Variations and Fugue
Ray Sherman

Act II

The Seasons
Kenneth Miller

Collage
Gerald Wilson
Cannonball Adderley, soloist

Late Flight
Jimmy Jones
Wes Montgomery, soloist

Prelude and Fugue
John Williams


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Gabe Baltazar, Bill Hood, Bob Cooper. Allan Beutler, John Lowe

TRUMPETS
Dalton Smith, Ronnie Ossa, Larry McGuire, Mickey McMahan, Jay Daversa

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Dick Shearer, Lou Blackburn, Jim Amlotte (b-tb)

FRENCH HORNS
John Cave, Vince De Rosa, Arthur Maebe, Richard Perissi, Henry Sigesmonti

TUBA
John Bambridge

PIANO
Ray Sherman

BASS
Bob West

GUITAR
John Caleffie

DRUMS
Norm Jeffries

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

CONDUCTOR
Stan Kenton


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

This concert, which opened the Neophonic’s third season, was an outstanding success—artistically and financially.

The near-capacity audience at Los Angeles’ acoustically alive Music Center heard nine works: seven premieres and two repeats. Hugo Montenegro’s Fanfare For The New (the work that began the first Neophonic concert in January, 1965) served as an ideal curtain-raiser with its overlapping layers of brass. The only reed instrument used was a bass sax, played by Lowe. The short piece was crisply performed.

The other holdover, Johnny Williams’ Prelude and Fugue, was also cleanly executed. It began with busy woodwind figures and reached an internal climax before segueing to a slow, provocative jazz feel. West’s walking bass pushed this section just right. During the fugal development, Baltazar contributed an excellent alto solo, bolstered by Jeffries’ fine drumming.

Willie Maiden contributed a short composition called Bygones that didn’t seem to have any wasted measures. Vibes and muted trumpets trilled the opening, giving way to a moody rubato background for Baltazar’s solo. With horns and brass providing the background, Cooper soloed on tenor. The full band reached a well-controlled high point before quietly subsiding.

A newcomer to the West Coast, Alf Clausen, was represented with Three Sounds For The Neophonic Orchestra. The first section was essentially a minor blues pivoting on a Latin-accented ostinato, and providing a cushion for one of the highlights of the concert, trumpeter Daversa’s solo. The second “sound” was a slow movement based on a theme that began with the first five notes of Mary l/ad A Little Lamb. The solo highlight in this segment was contributed by tenorist Cooper. The finale wrapped things up in a throwback to the straight-ahead brand of big band swing. Miking on the reeds was overly brilliant-to the point of harshness. Good solo work by Baltazar and trombonist Shearer.

Passion Suite, by Dee Barton, began with more affection than passion (five flutes; horns; and a trombone solo by Fitzpatrick), but the temperature soon began to rise. The featured soloists (altoist Reed and trumpeter Daversa) barked out a series of primitive dissonances as excitement continued to build. Sparked by congas and tympani, the tempo shot way up. A t the height of this musical orgy, the total sound was so loud that whatever harmonic subtleties the score might have held were lost. Then the opening tranquility returned, lending symmetry to the piece.

The most sophisticated works, and perhaps the most “Neophonic” in idiom, were written by Ray Sherman (the orchestra’s pianist) and Kenneth Miller. Sherman’s scholarly opus, Theme, Variation and Fugue, demonstrated the gap that separates classical and jazz conceptions. The modal theme grew organically, from bowed bass and clarinet over drum roll to a statement by trumpeter Dalton Smith that seemed to be saying “this legitimate melody can be swung.” The strands of the variations were interestingly conceived from the fabric of the theme. One was dominated by fluttering saxes and vibes; another segued logically into a full-bodied mambo. The fugue began in the trumpets, leaped to the horns, was picked up by the clarinets, then trombones, then meandered through the percussion. The working out of the polyphony—a broad statement by brass and horns over percussion—conjured up the stately finale to Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. The work was not meant to be swung, but at Kenton’s insistence, accented conception was substituted for legitimate reading wherever feasible.

Miller’s The Seasons consisted of four carefully etched tone poems. Winter blew in with muted horns over mysterioso rumblings by the bass. Chattering reeds passed the awakened spring motif to the horns. The brass picked it up and swung lustily, giving way to an exchange of “twos” between piccolo (Baltazar) and bass clarinet (Lowe). The theme alternated between 5/4 and a jaunty 6/4 before the lazy, expansive mood of summer was ushered in. Broad chords for horns with trombone obbligatos recalled the pristine Kenton sound. Daversa contributed an excellent solo. The theme trebled as West’s walking cut through with authority, and a brief chime passage by Richards led to one of the most poetic sections of the piece: a dialogue between Baltazar’s flute and Caleffie’s guitar, interrupted by a Cooper oboe solo. A brass fanfare, punctuated by Carlson’s pitched kettledrums, led to the hard-driving finale. Before the work ended there was some introspective interplay among flute, clarinets and oboe strongly reminiscent of the ending to the first movement of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. The finale quoted once again from the 5/4-6/4 spring motif before reaching an explosive conclusion.

For this listener, the Sherman and Miller pieces were the compositional highlights of the concert. But for the large crowd on hand, the works of Gerald Wilson and Jimmy Jones were more meaningful because they featured soloists Adderley and Montgomery.

Wilson’s penchant for things Mexican manifested itself right after the introduction of his Collage—a beginning that had Cannonball, unaccompanied, project his rarely heard, almost vibratoless legitimate tone. A jazz-flavored Latin tempo evolved, underscored by two vibrabarps. Without pause, the piece moved into a quiet middle section of haunting beauty. A brooding, rhapsodic theme for alto floated over undulating, sensuous curves. The finale moved at an up-tempo that probably would have been even faster had Wilson conducted his own piece. He also might have achieved a cleaner balance—the only flaw in Kenton’s conducting. The brass obscured Cannonball during his only opportunity to stretch out.

Late Flight—Jimmy Jones’ vehicle for Montgomery—was untitled until Wes’ overdue appearance at the final rehearsal. A beautiful, flowing melody over a quasi-bolero beat provided an excellent opportunity for the guitarist’s patented octaves. A fast section gave the soloist a chance for some no-nonsense jazz. In the final measures of the work, he pushed the off-beats until it sounded as if the rhythm section were straining to keep intact. But actually it held together beautifully.

In fact, the entire concert held together with such precision, it was hard to accept the fact that just 12 hours had been allotted to rehearsing the nine compositions. The concert was a tribute to the uncanny reading prowess of the Neophonic sidemen; the jazz capabilities of soloists such as Daversa, Baltazar and Cooper; and above all, the dynamic leadership of Stan Kenton, who plunges into the new with the energy of a teenager.

—Harvey Siders

Siders, Harvey. "Caught in the Act. Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra, Music Center, Los Angeles." Down Beat. 18 April 1968: 41-2.

Season 3, Concert 2

17 March 1968

Michel Legrand, Hugo Montenegro
guest conductors
Shelly Manne, Ray Brown, Louie Bellson
guest soloists

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Music for an Unwritten Play
Jim Knight

Porcelaine de Saxe
Michel Legrand

My Funny Valentine
Rogers-Hart
Michel Legrand, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne only

Passacaglia and Fugue
Allyn Ferguson

Act II

Phrygia
Jack Wheaton

Sierra
Ralph Pena

Ronnie’s Lullaby
Bobby Troup, arranged by Bob Enevoldsen

Prelude in Six Flats
Bobby Troup, arranged by Bob Enevoldsen

Jazz Ballet
Louie Bellson


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Gabe Baltazar, Gene Cipriano, John Rotella, Bill Perkins, Bernie Fleischer, John Lowe

TRUMPETS
Dalton Smith, Ronnie Ossa, Larry McGuire, Conte Candoli, Don Rader

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Dave Wells, Lou Blackburn, Jim Amlotte (b-tb)

FRENCH HORNS
Vince De Rosa, Arthur Maebe, James McGee, Henry Sigesmonti, George Price

TUBA
John Bambridge

PIANO
Ray Sherman

BASS
Bob West

GUITAR
John Caleffie

DRUMS
Norm Jeffries

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Emil Richards

HARP
Catherine Gotthoffer

CONDUCTOR
Michel Legrand – Act I
Hugo Montenegro – Act II, except
Louie Bellson – Jazz Ballet


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

The second Neophonic concert of the season presented an opportunity to compare conducting styles. The orchestra’s permanent conductor, Stan Kenton, was on the road, leaving the podium open to guests Legrand and Montenegro, each well-known as a composer-conductor.

The contrast was instructive. Legrand was flamboyant; Montenegro was businesslike. Legrand relied on dramatic gestures; Montenegro was as precise as a metronome. Legrand contorted his body to draw out dynamic shadings or punctuate phrasing; Montenegro “guided” the orchestra through the scores, allowing the sections to follow the markings. Legrand hummed audibly while conducting; Montenegro was quiet.

Each conducted half of the concert, and each half sparkled.

Again the men of the Neophonic proved their superior reading ability and their collective urge to swing in a number of outstanding compositions, two of which were repeats from the debut season.

Both holdovers came in Legrand’s half: Jim Knight’s Music for an Unwritten Play and Allyn Ferguson’s Passacaglia and Fugue.

Knight’s piece is the height of economy, constructed on one all-purpose theme that begins like How Dry I Am, in a minor key. The work unfolds like the score for a western movie. Following some tightly clustered big-band jazz (including a delicious alto solo by Baltazar) there was a fast section with horns broadly stating the theme over off-beat brass jabs that seemed to imply hoofbeats. The broad strokes carried through to a heroic climax-heroic in the sense of a Hollywood main title.

Ferguson’s composition is a scholarly and successful attempt to pour some hard-biting sectional jazz into classical molds. The work began with the lowest orchestral timbre, Lowe’s contra-bass clarinet, and continued through a slow, moody, atmospheric introduction to a satanic waltz punctuated by bell and vibraharp in unison.

Rader’s muted trumpet and Baltazar’s alto sparked the Passacaglia before the brass began the Fugue. Solos by tenorist Perkins and trumpeter Candoli during the fugal development were much too short.

Legrand unveiled one of his exquisite chamber works, scored for six saxophones, trombone, and rhythm, entitled Porcelaine De Saxe. Fitzpatrick was the lone trombonist; the saxophones represented the entire family: bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano, and Rotella on top with a sopranino. A brief, polyphonic excursion, Porcelaine, began and ended with quiet contrapuntal noodling by the saxophones, separated by a lush middle passage carried by the trombone.

A crowd-pleasing interlude featured Legrand as pianist and singer, assisted by two studio swingers who have become his moonlighting associates of late: bassist Brown and drummer Manne. Whether its inclusion during a Neophonic concert was justified can be debated; that the results were pleasing cannot.

The set began with a fast piece which had a jazz waltz for its release, and ended with a combination flamenco and bolero, built around a single minor chord. Between these two numbers came the piece de resistance: Legrand’s scat-flavored version of My Funny Valentine, accompanied mainly by Brown’s full-bodied, melodic bass lines.

Montenegro conducted four programatic works, one of which utilized a wind machine. Works by Jack Wheaton and Ralph Pena evoked clearly etched portraits. Wheaton’s Phrygia captured three views of the Spanish Mediterranean.

The first, featuring Rader’s fluegelhorn, floated sensuously over tambouriife and guitar. The second—much livelier—was cast in 5/4, broken up into three and two for accents. The soloists were Baltazar and Rader. Too little rehearsal time was evident during the uncertain closing pyramid.

Pena accented orchestral textures in his four-part tone poem, Sierra. Like Wheaton, he paid more attention to construction than to an attempt to achieve an inflated big-band sound-which is the direction that many of the Neophonic writers are taking.

The section marked Wind utilized taped sounds of wind, effectively integrated into the score. One of the finest solo statements of the concert came in Pena’s work, a long, soothing solo by trombonist Wells, who has one of the smoothest tones in the business. Baltazar’s bassoon was heard in a cadenza in the final movement.

Bobby Troup was represented by two pieces-both orchestrated by Bob Enevoldsen. The first, Ronne’s Lullaby, was a brief excursion into impressionism, centered on piano and bolstered by reeds and horns. The second, Prelude in Six Flats, also evolved from Sherman’s piano, the full orchestra commenting on the piano’s lyrical phrases. Prelude was much thinner than Lullaby, and should have been clothed in the same “chamber” vestments.

The finale was devoted to Bellson’s Jazz Ballet: a long, ambitious work, very balletic, yet musically independent. An excellent showcase for its composer, its episodic nature embraced slow, bluesy themes; up-tempo reminiscences of Duke Ellington; good Latin sounds; stripper music conjuring up the backing for a typical Las Vegas show; and an interpretive dance section with call and response between tympani and drums.

Aside from Bellson, who propelled the orchestra, there were excellent solo contributions by Candoli and shorter solo bits by trombonist Fitzpatrick; Richards, chimes; Carlson, tympani and bongos; and tenorist Fleischer, who was added to the reed section for this piece. Also added for Jazz Ballet: harpist Catherine Gotthoffer, the first of her sex to play in the Neophonic.

—Harvey Siders




Siders, Harvey. "Caught in the Act. Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra." Down Beat. 30 May 1968: 40-1.

Season 3, Concert 3

15 April 1968

Calvin Jackson, Tommy Vig
guest soloists

My Image

PROGRAM

Act I

Vasa
Earl Zindars

Nightmare
Louis Fratturo

Intro, Largo, Presto and Besame Mucho for Vibraharp and Neophonic Orchestra
Tommy Vig
Tommy Vig, vibraharp soloist

The Dissection and Reconstruction of Music from the Past as a Tribute to the Memory of Marquis de Sade
Lalo Schifrin

Act II

Tiare
Ken Hanna

Motivos
Raoul Romero

Themes and Explorations
Calvin Jackson
Calvin Jackson, piano soloist

Self Portrait
Roger Kellaway
Soloists: Roger Kellaway – piano; Tom Scott – reeds; Chuck Domanico – bass; Howard Roberts – guitar; John Guerin – drums


PERSONNEL

REEDS
Gabe Baltazar, Bill Perkins, Bob Cooper, John Rotella, John Lowe

TRUMPETS
Alan Weight, Ronnie Ossa, Larry McGuire, Conte Candoli, Pete Candoli

TROMBONES
Bob Fitzpatrick, Dave Wells, Lou Blackburn, Jim Amlotte (b-tb)

FRENCH HORNS
James McGee, Henry Sigesmonti, George Price, Ralph Pyle, Dick Mackey

TUBA
John Bambridge

PIANO
Ray Sherman

BASS
Bob West

GUITAR
John Caleffie

DRUMS
John Guerin, Norm Jeffries

PERCUSSION
Frank Carlson, Alan Estes

HARP
Catherine Gotthoffer

VOICE
Louie Jean Norman

CONDUCTOR
Stan Kenton

THE LOS ANGELES STRING QUARTET
Paul Shore, Bonnie Douglas – violin; Myra Kestenbaum – viola; Douglas Davis – cello


DOWN BEAT REVIEW

Contrast was the keynote of this season's Neophonic finale—a broad spectrum of styles that offered something for everyone: the plainsong of the Middle Ages; the filigrees of the Renaissance; the curlicues of the Baroque; the lushness of Romanticism; the rock-it-to-me of today; and the sock-it-to-me of the electronic tomorrow.

By the time the evening had ended, the small audience (any crowd below 2,000 looks small in the Music Center) had not only been spoonfed an invaluable musical history lesson—they had heard what must be considered the high water mark for Stan Kenton's pioneering Neophonic.

The evening began harmlessly enough, with Earl Zindars' Vasa—more big band than concert jazz. Considering the composer's choice of instrumentation, this chart could have been played by any big band. The percussion was relatively quiet; the horns were given little opportunity to comment. What solo space there was belonged to guitarist John Ca!effie and tenorist Bill Perkins.

A big band reminiscence from a bygone era (Intermission Riff) was conjured up as Louis Fratturo's Nightmare briefly toyed with trombone jabs over a baritone sax anchor figure. But that was merely an episodic suggestion. It followed an excellent mysterioso opening that heard Bob Cooper's oboe and Perkins' flute weaving impressionistically over percussion. The rhythm mounted as Alan Estes soloed on vibes over subliminal sax proddings. Adding to the intensity: octave drops for trombones. Nightmare was well-conceived and boasted some fine, tight concerted writing that treated the entire orchestra as one section.

Treating the orchestra as one instrument —playing on it and playing with it—was Tommy Vig. With his characteristic humor he submitted a score with the dead-pan sobriquet of Intro, Presto, Largo and Besame Mucho. Vig's work turned out to be one of the compositional and solo highlights of the season. Vig himself was featured in this mini-concerto for vibes and orchestra and he opened the work with an overly long cadenza. The orchestra doubled the rhythm of the vibes figure in 6/8, and with a strong assist from the walking Bob West, the work was launched. The Presto sounded like a way-up minor blues, with fine stick work from John Guerin. A four- mallet, well-reharmonized statement of the release of Besame ushered in the Largo, and the band broke out into the Besame theme. Vig had the rhythm of that melody cleverly displaced. Excellent solo vibes playing, thoughtfully developed ideas for orchestra (Vig is one of the few com- posers who takes the time and patience to develop his material in the classical sense) and an exciting conclusion.

Schifrin's work, which he conducted from the keyboard, was The Dissection and Reconstruction of Music From the Past As a Tribute to the Memory of the Marquis De Sade.

It would be fair to say that Schifrin just "took over" completely, jumping up from the piano to explain each section, and charming his listeners with a light- hearted seriousness also inherent in his score. Blues for Johann elicited smiles with its witty updating of Baroque-style basso continuo. It elicited more than smiles from Bob West and John Guerin, who provided a swinging-yet-legitimate foundation for Schifrin's funky edifice, which boasted fine fluted columns by Perkins and Baltazar. The smiles were audible when the horns and tuba ended the movement on a Picardy Third. Guerin's tasteful brushwork, and the polite barking of muted trombones and horns behind Perkins' flute kept Troubador gliding. Before it faded into oblivion, this modal page from the Middle Ages featured two more latter-day troubadors: Baltazar on flute, and Conte Candoli, muted trumpet. Renaissance superimposed a soft-core rock figure over a typical Florentine harmonic progression. Beneath A Weeping Willow Tree heard soprano Loulie Jean Norman, backed by a string quartet, render a very proper early-American song in a legato 3/4, interrupted by a cooking jazz waltz for the band. Rock reared its un- subtle head for the finale, The Wig, in which Perkins and Baltazar flauted a simple theme in classical style over a hard rock beat. When Sade was over, Schifrin was recalled a number of times, and he very properly singled out West and Guerin for their support.

Raoul Romero's Motivos could have used some support, especially in terms of dynamic shadings, but considering the subliminal rehearsal schedule of the neophonic, certain compositions, or portions thereof, understandably become casualties. However, a less than perfect performance cannot alter an obvious display of intelligent writing. Motivos is an exciting jazz waltz garnished with Latin accents. Two tenor solos highlighted the piece: one by Cooper; the other a memorable sortie by Perkins.

A communications gap marred the opening of Calvin Jackson's Themes and Explorations. One of the sections missed Jackson's downbeat (the composer conducted) and the resulting rhythmical chaos never quite corrected itself, despite Jackson's heroic efforts. (Some indication of how unintentionally futuristic it sounded can be gleaned from the fact that Roger Kellaway later commended Jackson for his sophisticated opening). A tribute to the composer-conductor's cool could be heard in the Explorations that immediately followed the ruptured theme: it was pure poetry. The format of the work was tailor-made for Jackson. None of the Explorations was written. Following each orchestral theme, Jackson would extemporize at the keyboard, launching into whatever mood the theme evoked at the moment. His approach to improvisation is a brilliant throwback to that lost art of the classical era. Stylistically, his music is firmly rooted in the post-Romantic melodiousness of Rachmaninoff.

Another romantic outpouring was heard in the brief, one-movement Tiare, a flowing balletic score by Ken Hanna, whose early arrangements for Kenton it recalled, especially in the trombone voicings. Cast in 4/4-3/4, the work lacked an alternating pulse that would justify its dual signature; it was clearly conceived in 7/ 4. Cooper (oboe) and Fitzpatrick (trombone) contributed handsome solos.

Roger Kellaway is a refreshingly independent spirit. His Self Portrait was a skillfully written combination of electronic dabbling, free-form combo jazz, and poetic keyboard meanderings-all of which add up to the many directions in which the pianist is currently heading. It ·began with vague rumblings designed, as the composer explained during rehearsal, "to dissipate any moods that might precede the composition." Actually Kellaway, in a red velvet suit, white length hair, achieved that goal visually.

Structurally, Self Portrait resembled a concerto grosso, with a quintet set against full orchestra. Overcoming an unwelcome obbligato in the form of a buzz from one of the many electronic appurtenances, the quintet forged ahead with some wild, free-form improvising against a largely tonal orchestra, except for occasional very dissonant chords-crashing vertical columns reminiscent of those enigmatic chords that charged the mood of Mahler's unfinished 10th Symphony. One section, particularly memorable, evolved from a persistent pedal point on piano into a rock-flavored, hard-driving jazz segment interrupted by those chordal lightning bolts, followed immediately by an extended Kellaway solo, rhapsodic and impressionistic.

The individual strands that could be separated from the quintet lines were ex- citing displays of expertise. The electronic aspect was not overdone, but it still drove some less adventurous souls to premature exits. The others were not humming any part of Kellaway's themes on the way out, but somehow, his contribution provided a fitting close to a forward-looking season. The Neophonic is a remarkable orchestra whose father image retains youthfulness, refusing to stand still.

—Harvey Siders


Siders, Harvey. "Caught in the Act. Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra." Down Beat. 11 July 1968: 38-9.