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Intermission Riff 1952-1956

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Album Review

This album contains 20 examples of Stan Kenton's post-swing big-band style, circa 1952 to 1956. Kenton had disbanded his large Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra the year before these recordings began, but he was, as ever, ambitious. The inclusion, for example, of the multi-part, seven-minute "Concerto to End All Concertos" indicates that. Often, Kenton drew on the familiar repertoire of show tunes and song standards — "Fascinating Rhythm," "Lover," "Stella by Starlight," "Lover Man" — but the charts could go off in unexpected directions, and the soloing often took in aspects of bebop. Kenton caught flak for calling this style "progressive jazz," but it certainly was a development over the old days of swing, and in many ways it has remained challenging and innovative.


Born: December 15, 1911 in Wichita, KS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

There have been few jazz musicians as consistently controversial as Stan Kenton. Dismissed by purists of various genres while loved by many others, Kenton ranks up there with Chet Baker and Sun Ra as jazz's top cult figure. He led a succession of highly original bands that often emphasized emotion, power, and advanced harmonies over swing, and this upset listeners who felt that all big bands should aim to sound like Count Basie. Kenton always had a different vision. Kenton played in the 1930s in...
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Intermission Riff 1952-1956, Stan Kenton
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