Stan Kenton

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This early-LP collection partially documents a period of retrenching after Kenton's Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra took a financial bath. While the album concentrates upon pop standards and an occasional cover of a then-current hit, Capitol also adds some originals from the artist's book, and thus the record becomes a tasty cross-section of the Kenton bands of the early '50s. "September Song," launched a baby-simple, money-making formula, the band sings the tune in unison as Kenton tinkles the ivories. The band members hated doing this, but audiences fell for it, and so there is more of that routine on "Tenderly" and "Laura." "Delicado," a quick cover of a Brazilian tune that Percy Faith took to number one in 1952, sounds close to proto-rock & roll; the guitar lead has a definite rock-tinged tone and attack (has anyone on the rock side ever commented on Kenton being a prophet of the genre?). "Dynaflow" is a prime example of the artist's distinctive composing style, with Art Pepper soloing and sharing credit in the writing, and "Harlem Nocturne" receives a particularly intriguing treatment, with dense, luxurious Kentonian harmonies. Also, he conducts some more of his under-appreciated experiments with percolating Afro-Cuban rhythms in "Love for Sale," "Taboo," and "Francesca." Originally released on a 10" LP in 1953, the album was expanded to 12" format in 1955 with four extra tracks.

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