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Album Review

This reasonably enjoyable LP features the Stan Kenton Orchestra during its final period. The ensemble sound remained impressive but among the sidemen only trumpeter Tim Hagans (and to a lesser extent bassist Dave Stone) would go on to greater heights, although baritonist Greg Smith is impressive on his feature, "A Smith Named Greg." Hank Levy contributed three of the charts, "Tiburon" is Bill Holman's, and Kenton's piano is featured on the two ballads "Send in the Clowns" and "My Funny Valentine." This is not one of the major Stan Kenton albums, but the set will be enjoyed by fans of college stage bands.

Customer Reviews

A Favorite 70's-era album

I must first admit a bias - this is my favorite of the 70's era Kenton recordings. Why? The opening number sticks in my head, from the first time I heard it in 1977 to today; the sequencing of the songs is superb; and though tight and polished it has just enough edge showing through to remind us of the spontaneity that is jazz. All through this album you get the impression of barely restrained power that characterizes Kenton's last few bands. Highlights (in addition to the wonderful melody of "Time For A Change") include a searing trumpet on the refreshing arrangement of "Send In The Clowns"; a brooding "Tiburon"; flying ensemble trumpet work on "A Smith Named Greg"; and a deceptively engaging "Decoupage" (a Hank Levy composition, of course, featuring some great drum work by Gary Hobbs.) I find it necessary to mention that the anonymous reviewer from All Music Guide is, in my opinion, all wet (see my review of "Journey To Capricorn" for more. ) Yes, the late Kenton band does sound very much like a college stage band - or, more precisely, so pervasive had the Kenton influence become during those years that every college band was trying to sound like Kenton! The reviewer - obviously lacking any historical perspective of jazz - doesn't understand who the leaders and followers are. Kenton was the leader, and everyone else attempted - with varying degrees of success - to follow in his footsteps.

Amazing Album

I absolutley love this album. But the best part is that my high school jazz band director is John Harner, who played the 1st Trumpet for Stan Kenton and played the solo on Send In The Clowns. So i guess that i am a liitle biased, but it is still an awsome album.

One of only a few studio recordings from the mid-late 1970's, and a GREAT one to boot!

Most of Kenton's albums in the 70's were live recordings from college campus tours or jazz camps (Butler, Redlands, BYU, etc.) but the recording technology had caught up by the 1970's and the sound engineers captured the full depth of the Kenton sound on this album. Check out the trombone section on tracks 1, 2, 4, and 5, for example. You can hear all five parts. A previous reviewer cited the trumpet solo on "Send in the Clowns," and he's absolutely right, it's not Maynard Ferguson. I've found bootleg MP3's on the internet claiming that Maynard played the solo on "Clowns." The fact is, Kenton always had bright, talented, and most importantly, chop-gifted trumpet players before, during, and after Maynard's time with the band. "Kenton 76" is where the mixed meter experiments reached their zenith and these songs will stick with you. I usually play "Kenton 76" for people who claim to hate the Kenton band. Remember, there is a large segment of the jazz world that believes it's "cool" or "hip" to ignore the Kenton catalog. No doubt some of Stan's experiments didn't work as well as others, but not with this was, is, and always will be a hit and a wonderful time capsule.

Kenton '76, Stan Kenton and His Orchestra
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Customer Ratings