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.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann