1944 was an important transitional year for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. The World War II draft resulted in some turnover from the earlier Kenton big band; Anita O'Day became the group's new singer; Stan Getz emerged as their young tenor soloist (even if his fame would not really begin until joining Woody Herman a few years later); and, although not the powerhouse unit it soon become, Stan Kenton's Orchestra grew in popularity. This 1997 CD consists of two previously unreleased radio broadcasts that emanated from Hollywood in May and December of 1944. Anita O'Day (who, other than the hit "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine," did not record all that much with Kenton) is heard on six numbers, as is the somewhat dated ballad singer Gene Howard; in addition, there are six instrumentals. The arrangements (by Kenton, Gene Howard, Dave Mathews, Joe Rizzo and the young Pete Rugolo, who contributed two charts) are not as adventurous as the ones to come, but they are still pretty modern for the pre-bop period. Getz and Mathews get some tenor solos; Karl George is the most notable of the trumpeters (which include the young Buddy Childers); and the Kenton Orchestra on the whole sounds pretty distinctive. Although not quite essential, this historic release should interest Stan Kenton fans and collectors.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow