Oh, those nifty ’50s: when Stan Kenton refused to rock around the clock. That’s when he ended his final “concept” band, reduced his trumpet and trombone sections to four each, added two French horns and a tuba and went on the road. One of the first gigs: San Bernardino, Calif., where Wally Heider recorded the band so faithfully, it hurts to hear Kenton coping with an out-of-tune piano. But that doesn’t lessen the intensity of the swing, thanks to Bill Holman’s charts; a trumpet section bolstered by the under-appreciated Lee Katzman; ‘bones perpetuating the Kai Winding legacy, thanks to Bob Fitzpatrick and Carl Fontana; and saxes coalescing with the help of altoist Lennie Niehaus, tenorist Bill Perkins and baritonist Jack Nimitz.
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