Alon Marcus

Stan Kenton - City of Glass

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In a way, Third Stream before that term was coined.

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Is the date on this correct? April?

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hmmmm - maybe he meant to time delay the send.

either that or he's in a waaaay different time zone.

:mellow:

-e-

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Excellent disc. It's the one Stan Kenton disc I have, which is not surprising as I'm not a Kenton fan at all. But then I don't think of this as a Kenton album; it's a Graettinger album.

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Excellent disc. It's the one Stan Kenton disc I have, which is not surprising as I'm not a Kenton fan at all. But then I don't think of this as a Kenton album; it's a Graettinger album.

Took the words out of my mouth, on all counts.

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Is the date on this correct? April?

Alon is giving us time to collect our thoughts and energy to tackle this one!

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Excellent disc.  It's the one Stan Kenton disc I have, which is not surprising as I'm not a Kenton fan at all.  But then I don't think of this as a Kenton album; it's a Graettinger album.

Took the words out of my mouth, on all counts.

Can I jump on and add more agreement to this :tup

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Is the date on this correct? April?

Alon is giving us time to collect our thoughts and energy to tackle this one!

I really hope it was enough time to get ready for those (like myself) that experienced this album for the first time.

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If you like the Graettinger stuff, I strongly recommend you dig into some of the 20th Century composers like Xenias (sp?), Pierre Boulez, Arnold Schenberg, Alban Berg, Gyorgi Lighetti, Morton Feldman, Witold Lutoslowski, and many more.

Some of these guys will REALLY pin your ears back!!

:tup:tup:tup:tup

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Excellent disc.  It's the one Stan Kenton disc I have, which is not surprising as I'm not a Kenton fan at all.  But then I don't think of this as a Kenton album; it's a Graettinger album.

I don't think that's quite right. There is NO WAY Graettinger himself could have put together the orchestra necessary to play that music or get it recorded. It took Kenton's top-flight band, vision and determination to bring that music alive. Also, it never would have been recorded without Kenton's pull at Capitol records. I remember reading that the thing sold less than ten thousand copies, so it couldn't have been a huge money-maker for Capitol. Kenton was reported as saying, "I don't know whether this music is genius or garbage" but he recorded it anyway, thereby putting his own musical stature behind it. And it didn't do anything for Kenton at all, since the music actually turned off a lot of Kenton's traditional fan base. Like him or not, Kenton actually deserves a lot of credit for this music being available to us today.

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This too, is my favorite Kenton album. :tup

:rsmile:

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Excellent disc.  It's the one Stan Kenton disc I have, which is not surprising as I'm not a Kenton fan at all.  But then I don't think of this as a Kenton album; it's a Graettinger album.

I don't think that's quite right. There is NO WAY Graettinger himself could have put together the orchestra necessary to play that music or get it recorded. It took Kenton's top-flight band, vision and determination to bring that music alive. Also, it never would have been recorded without Kenton's pull at Capitol records. I remember reading that the thing sold less than ten thousand copies, so it couldn't have been a huge money-maker for Capitol. Kenton was reported as saying, "I don't know whether this music is genius or garbage" but he recorded it anyway, thereby putting his own musical stature behind it. And it didn't do anything for Kenton at all, since the music actually turned off a lot of Kenton's traditional fan base. Like him or not, Kenton actually deserves a lot of credit for this music being available to us today.

"I don't know whether this music is genius or garbage"

This sentence (or a similar one) also appears in Ted Gioa's book about west coast jazz. Kenton said it about Thermopylae which the most conventional piece out of all Graettinger originals on the album.

I'm not sure at all that Graettinger was the best arranger that worked with Stan. After all the list of people that wrote for him included Mulligan, Bill Russo, Bill Holman, Pete Rugolo and many others.

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Graettinger--supposedly an odd character, died quite young, too, I believe. Any good biographical pieces on him floating around?

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Hello Ghost,

How are you doing?

Check out Chapter 8 in Ted Gioia's West Coast Jazz...some interesting background information.

Interesting guy, to say the least.

Alejandro

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There was a Kenton biography I once read (don't remember anything other than that it was written by a female) that painted a portrait of Graettinger as a man who never slept ("You can sleep when you're dead" was his line, supposedly) and who subsisted on potfulls of black coffee and, iirc, the occasional dose of raw eggs. Also included were recollections of fellow bandmates who recalled him as an unusually prescient individual. Art Pepper, for instance, said that Graettinger fortold the difficult times that lay ahead for him (Pepper) with an uncannily accurate accuracy. Others commented on how his graphic notation led to unusually vivid musical imagery, that if he drew a tree on the paper, that the resultant musical translation actually sounded like a tree (to them, at least).

There haven't been many Kenton bios, and only one written by a woman that I know of, so this one should be easy enough to trace. Sorry I don't have the specifics, but my days of Kenton fandom have long been over. Graettinger himself, otoh, continues to fascinate.

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Hello Ghost,

How are you doing?

Check out Chapter 8 in Ted Gioia's West Coast Jazz...some interesting background information.

Interesting guy, to say the least.

Alejandro

Hey, very well, Alejandro! Hope all's well with you. You know, I read that Gioia book about 10 years ago... I'll go back tonight and re-visit Chapter 8. That's probably where my "odd character" impression came from. Thanks for the tip.

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I think that Stan Kenton's music, and his contribution to the history of modern jazz is sadly underestimated ... one only has to look at the responses on this thread. The tone of dismissal evidenced by many members of this board shows a basic ignorance of the music and the men who played it. I must admit that individual tastes are obviously allowed, but I get the impression that many who dismiss Kenton have never really delved into his music in any depth. As a long time Kenton admirer, I find that some of his greatest efforts still send a thrill through my system ... and there are obviously a lot of people like me who flock to Kenton revival concerts. You can't make the horse drink the water ... but you can at least suggest that he try it ...

For a good source for Graettinger's role with Kenton see these two sites:

http://www.tiare.com/graettinger.htm

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~rneckmag/graett.html

The biography of Kenton is by Carol Easton. It should be pointed out the Kenton devotees hate this book, and really do not accept it as "true" biography of the "great man". It is indeed full of a great deal of erroneous information. The definitive biography, which evaluates his life and contribution to twentieth century music, awaits the right author.

For information about this book see this site:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

Edited by garthsj

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The tone of dismissal evidenced by many members of this board shows a basic ignorance of the music and the men who played it. I must admit that individual tastes are obviously allowed, but I get the impression that many who dismiss Kenton have never really delved into his music in any depth...

The biography of Kenton is by Carol Easton. It should be pointed out the Kenton devotees hate this book, and really do not accept it as "true" biography of the "great man". It is indeed full of a great deal of erroneous information.

Well, in my case, I've heard pretty much all the albums, spent 4+ years in a music school that rather zealously preached The Gospel According To Stan Kenton, personally played a fair number of charts from the library, and heard the 70s band live about 5 or 6 times, spending time hanging out w/the band a few off those times.

So when I say that there's very little Kenton that I truly dig, a little more that I hate, and even more, the vast majority, actually, that leaves me stunningly indifferent, it is not an uninformed opinion, believe me.

As for the Easron book (thanks for the reminder as to the author), I distinfly remember the Furor Amongst The Faithful upon its release, which seemed to be caused mostly by the numerous "personal" revelations about Kenton, amongst them that he was a heavy drinker (he was) and that he sometimes was an unfaithful husband (ditto). I don't remember any questioning of the portrait of Graettinger, but then again, Graettinger has long been a figure that many True Kenton Believers view with an odd mixture of fear, loathing, suspicion, and justification.

No sense in rehashing the debate over Kenton, which ultimately, as in all such matters, comes down to what one likes and what one finds personally relevant. I jsut don't like the Marsallisian implication that "if you don't like it, it's because ou haven't heard enough of it", or some such.

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At one point in his career, Clint Eastwood could have/should have made a Kenton biopic and played the lead role himself. I know for a fact that Clint was among the core group of Kenton fans way back when and might well have been able to convey the seemingly now forgotten sense that Kenton's music once was -- socially for sure and to some considerable degree musically -- a quite radical phenomenon.

If I may try to mediate between Garth and Jim Sangrey here, I think this is what Garth feels/knows in his bones and that Jim (given the time/era/setting that he encountered Kenton's music) might have found difficult to detect. That is (and tell me if I'm wrong here, Jim), the Kenton crowd when you were coming up, especially the band teachers, more or less epitomized incipient pot-belly complacency. But back in the day (it was before my day in the literal sense, though I think I've been able to pick up on the vibrations), it was pretty much the opposite of that. A longish direct encounter with Mort Sahl back in the early '80s (Mort worshiped Kenton) helped me figure this out, if indeed I have. (BTW, Mort and Clint were friends in college.)

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At one point in his career, Clint Eastwood could have/should have made a Kenton biopic and played the lead role himself. I know for a fact that Clint was among the core group of Kenton fans way back when and might well have been able to convey the seemingly now forgotten sense that Kenton's music once was -- socially for sure and to some considerable degree musically -- a quite radical phenomenon.

If I may try to mediate between Garth and Jim Sangrey here, I think this is what Garth feels/knows in his bones and that Jim (given the time/era/setting that he encountered Kenton's music) might have found difficult to detect. That is (and tell me if I'm wrong here, Jim), the Kenton crowd when you were coming up, especially the band teachers, more or less epitomized incipient pot-belly complacency. But back in the day (it was before my day in the literal sense, though I think I've been able to pick up on the vibrations), it was pretty much the opposite of that. A longish direct encounter with Mort Sahl back in the early '80s (Mort worshiped Kenton) helped me figure this out, if indeed I have. (BTW, Mort and Clint were friends in college.)

Well, yeah, sort of. But I've done enough research (in books and with real people) and such to realize the "real" perception of Kenton's ouvre by his devotees of the time and just how "radical" it was perceived as being by some.

The thing is, most of the music doesn't hold up in that light for me. It did when I was young and relatively uninformed, but not any more. I can appreciate the spirit of the music (and the appeal of that spirit to the fans of the day), but the music itself seems, usually, more of a collection of devices (most of them borrowed, at that) than it does an organic musical expression of a distinct viewpoint. That in and of itself might represent an actual viewpoint, I know, but if one of the things that music should do is give a picture of where and how you live, most (and I stress, MOST, not all) of the Kenton output to me suggests a world lived in studios playing soundtrack gigs and/or spent studying other musics in the hopes of finding some new inspiration therein, albeit with a tendency to take the first thing that sticks and run with it, never coming back for more/deeper investigation. In the latter regard, it is in many ways the ultimate "White" jazz in both style and motivation, at least for a certain type of Whiteness, the type that comes from someplace not altogether to their liking, and is looking for someplace better, but not necessarily too different. Nothing wrong with that at all, it's a legitimate sociolgical phenomenon, but it's just not, um...relevant to my lifestyle at this juncture.

Now that's not to say that I dislike all of Kenton's output. Far from it. I very much dig the Graettinger stuff, many of the various Holman things over the years, the very first, Balboa-era band, some of the Dee Barton things, etc. I even dug the Neophonic album, and I know I'm in the minority on that one! :g But overall, the music just doesn't hit me where I live, nor does does it suggest to me a place where I would want to live for too very long. To those for whom it does, hey, more power to them, to each thier own, etc., and look at the bright side - if you're worried about overcrowding, I'm one less you gotta worry about! :g

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Also, I hope that this thread is able to remain focused on the album in question (which is some of the most organic music ever presented under the aegis of Stan Kenton), rather than evolving/deteriorating into a Love Kenton/Hate Kenton type thing. I fear that I'm doing more than my share of contributing to that sort of devolution, so I'll stop it. Of course, responses and counter-arguments are expected, but hopefully not at the expense of the focus of the thread.

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