quarta-feira, 10 de agosto de 2016

Stan Kenton and His Orchestra - Live in Cologne 76 - Part One

  1. Granada Smoothie
  2. Lush Life
  3. Turtle Talk
  4. Roy's Blues
  5. Love for Sale
  6. Body and Soul
  7. Intermission Riff
Cologne Part One

Stan Kenton was a man who didn't know the meaning of defeat. At age 65, and after several years of increasing physical discomfort, in 1976 he embarked upon one of the most arduos and strenuous European tours ever undertaken by an American band. It was no secret to those close to Stan that he disliked touring overseas. As John Worster confided: "The bus is Stan's home. He hates being in Europe! He doesn't like to fly anywhere. He wants to sit in the bus he owns, and he doesn't even want to go to Canada. He just wants to drive around the States in his bus. I'm exaggerating only slightly. He likes to come to Europe because of the people and the good concert halls, and he likes it once he's here, but getting him to come is really hard work. He really just wants to sit at home and play those places that he knows".

The '76 tour was certainly not without its difficulties. On the very day they were due to leave the States, Dave Sova refused to fly, and the orchestra left with only a four-man sax section. On arrival in Copenhagen, tenor-man Teddy Andersen was recruited out of the Tivoli Gardens band, and he made the entire tour. "A marvellous player, and a beautiful guy", notes Worster. "It took him only a day or so to figure the whole band out, and ours isn't an easy book to play on sight".

The two weeks that followed in Sweden was over-kill for a jazz band in such a small country. The turn-out was relatively good in the big cities, but as Stan put it: "No-one was beating the door down to get tickets". There followed two nights behind the Iron Curtain in Poland, an experience most of the guys preferred not to dwell upon.

John Worster again: "To make matters worse, Stan contracted a bladder infection. He was very ill, he was shaking and looked terrible, I thought he was going to have a stroke or something. I was really worried about him, and the doctors told him to take time off, but he wouldn't; he didn't even cut a tune or anything. but once we got to Germany he seemed much stronger, and the concert in Cologne was good".

The performance singled out by John and heard on these Magic Albuns was recorded before an invited audience in two sets for broadcasting over German radio. Beforehand, these were lengthy rehearsals to ensure the best balance and microphone placements, which accounts in no small degree for the excellent stereo sound. The program is a judicious blend of Kenton favourites and contemporary scores, with no fewer than twelve different arrangers represented, including the ubiquitous "head"!

Two of the best soloists heard on these discs are aptly summed up by Worster: "Jeff Uusitalo (trombone) is very exciting; he gets a real enthusiasm going, which I hope he never loses. Tim Hagans to me is a wonder. He's not a natural trumpet player, he's worked very hard, and now he's not afraid to try anything. He goes out and plays a different solo every night. I'd compare him with Jay Daversa and some of Stan's other very good players. His head is really on right". The same could be said of John's own consistently inspired basswork, teamed with Gary Hobbs' fluid, swinging drums. But as always with Stan, the real star is not any individual however talented, but the orchestra itself: powerful, precise, pulsating. Kenton is in command!

(From the original liner notes)

Personnel:

Jay Sollenberger, Steve Campos, Tim Hagans, Dave Kennedy, Joe Casano (trumpets)
Dick Shearer, Jeff Uusitalo, Mike Egan (trombones)
Allen Morrissey (bass trombone)
Douglas Purviance (bass trombone, tuba)
Terry Layne (alto), Roy Reynolds, Teddy Andersen (tenors), Alan Yankees, Greg Metcalf (baritones)
Stan Kenton (piano), John Worster (bass), Gary Hobbs (drums)
Ramon Lopez (conga)

Recorded: Cologne, West Germany, 16th September 1976.

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