Stan Kenton: Adventures in Jazz (1999)
This is one of the finest albums ever recorded by the remarkable Stan Kenton Orchestra. It features two compositions by the composer/trombonist/drummer Dee Barton, "Turtle Talk" and "Waltz of the Prophets," that are among the best-known works from the Kenton library. Barton later went on to fame (like those other Kenton stalwarts, Pete Rugolo and Lennie Niehaus) as a composer for films such as Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me. The CD includes a well-known version of the song "Misty," but the arrangement is by Gene Roland, not Dee Barton. "Misty" showcases the incredible mellophonium work of Ray Starling, undoubtedly the finest soloist who ever mastered that notoriously difficult brass instrument. Another featured soloist is Sam Donahue, a deep-throated tenor player in the Vido Musso tradition, who provides a stratospherically high solo on his own arrangement of "Body and Soul." An alternative version of "Body and Soul" (along with another version of "Waltz of the Prophets") is included as a CD bonus, but it lacks the polish of the take included on the original LP. The composer/arranger Bill Holman is represented by two of his best charts: "Stairway to the Stars," a tour de force arrangement of the standard featuring the alto of Gabe Baltazar; and the big production arrangement of Lecuona's "Malaguena," an arrangement that was a staple of Kenton concerts and clinics in the 1960s and 1970s.
Aficionados of Stan Kenton's band won't want to be without this CD. This is Kenton at the peak of his power, leading a dynamite collection of soloists and sidemen during the last glory days of the travelling big bands.
Track Listing: Turtle Talk; Stairway To The Stars; Limehouse Blues; Malaguena; Misty; Waltz Of The Prophets; Body And Soul; It Might As Well Be Spring; Waltz Of The Prophets (First Version); Body And Soul (First Version)
Personnel: Jim Amlotte, trombone; Buddy Arnold, tenor sax; Gabe Baltazar, alto sax; Norman Baltazar, trumpet; Dee Barton, trombone; Bob Behrendt, trumpet; Allan Beutler, baritone & bass saxes; Bud Brisbois, trumpet; Dwight Carver, mellophonium; Sam Donahue, tenor sax; Wayne Dunstan, bass sax; Bob Fitzpatrick, trombone; Marvin Holladay, baritone sax; Joel Kaye, baritone & bass saxes; Stan Kenton, piano; Keith LaMotte, mellophonium; Jerry Lestock McKenzie, drums; Red Mitchell, bass; Bud Parker, trombone; Paul Renzi, tenpr sax; Bob Rolfe, trumpet; Carl Saunders, mellophonium; Pat Senatore, bass; Dalton Smith, trumpet; Jack Spurlock, trombone; Marvin Stamm, trumpet; Ray Starling, mellophonium; Dave Wheeler, bass trombone, tuba