Balboa Bash, 1941

Stan Kenton

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Balboa Bash, 1941 Review

by Richard S. Ginell

With this release, volume one in a series, Naxos Jazz gets its hands on some of the earliest recordings of the Stan Kenton band, an ear-opening collection of MacGregor radio transcriptions made around the time that he was recording for Decca. These, mind you, date well before the series of path-breaking Capitol recordings that made the band famous -- and they show the Kenton sound already partially in place, the trademark staccato sax section punctuating the line, the brasses just starting to blast. Even at this point, you cannot mistake this band for anyone's else's, even in the more commercially motivated tunes. Interestingly, only a handful of the nine Decca titles appear here, leaving room for a lot of material that went undocumented by the major labels. There are also a few previews of Kenton-penned recordings to come: the Kenton theme "Artistry in Rhythm" (which he pilfered from Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloe"), the jumping "Harlem Folk Dance," and the sublime "Opus in Pastels" (here, it's faster and more staccato in phrasing than the great 1946 Capitol recording). Chico Alvarez's trumpet can be heard in several solo spots, and Howard Rumsey's scatted loosey-goosey bass solo feature, "A Setting in Motion" (which Decca recorded under the title "Concerto for Doghouse"), is a kick. Some of the MacGregors had appeared on LP as early as 1953, yet this systematic release should easily supersede all earlier efforts, with clean, listenable transfers but no personnel listings.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Stan Kenton 01:10 Amazon
2 Stan Kenton 01:52 Amazon
3 Stan Kenton 01:47 Amazon
4 Stan Kenton feat: Red Dorris 03:34 Amazon
5 Stan Kenton 03:12 Amazon
Stan Kenton 03:09 Amazon
7 Stan Kenton 02:09 Amazon
8 Stan Kenton feat: Red Dorris 02:48 Amazon
9 Stan Kenton 02:27 Amazon
10 Stan Kenton 01:51 Amazon
11 Stan Kenton 02:05 Amazon
12 Stan Kenton 02:07 Amazon
13 Stan Kenton feat: Red Dorris 02:25 Amazon
14 Stan Kenton 02:13 Amazon
15 Stan Kenton 01:40 Amazon
16 Stan Kenton 02:05 Amazon
17 Stan Kenton 02:36 Amazon
18 Stan Kenton feat: Red Dorris 02:15 Amazon
19 Stan Kenton 02:01 Amazon
20 Stan Kenton 02:04 Amazon
21 Stan Kenton 03:25 Amazon
22 Stan Kenton 02:11 Amazon
23 Stan Kenton 01:53 Amazon
24 Stan Kenton 01:53 Amazon
25 Stan Kenton 02:02 Amazon
26 Stan Kenton 00:51 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick