Alon Marcus

Stan Kenton - City of Glass

101 posts in this topic

Ah, now it makes sense, maybe...they each had their won 10" covers & when they combined them onto a 12", they used the 10 ""This Modern World" cover...or else, if Rooster's mom had a 10" COG with the "graph" cover, maybe they both had that cover at some point before being combined onto the 12", kinda like Kent's Krazymusik Vols 1 & 2... It must've been confuisn to be a record buyr inthe early-mid 1950s. 78 & 45 singles, 45 EPs, 10" LPs 12" LPs, Kenton & Ellington on the same label, I mean, I feel the angst of the little man on the original COG cover, it's like "What am I going to do with all this....MODERNINITY?"

kenton_stan_cityofgla_101b.jpg

Yeah, here this is:

stan%20kenton-1.gif

Edited by JSngry

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I mean, I feel the angst of the little man on the original COG cover, it's like "What am I going to do with all this....MODERNINITY?"

The feeling I get is that he's proudly summoning all this modernity to life.

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Well, sure, that's what he's doing at the moment. But then he realizes the implications, looks at the band, and calls "Eager Beaver" for the block.

X gets the square. Moderninity wins again!

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Now that I'm seeing it in a bigger representation, I'm pretty sure that the 10-inch I have only has "This Modern World" on it (not "City of Glass").

The cover I uploaded earlier (the one with both This Modern World" and "City of Glass") must have been a 12-inch.

All this time I thought that 10-inch was part of "City of Glass", in part because I knew it from the CD-issue of "City of Glass" -- and I wrongly presumed that "City of Glass" was originally an LP-length work.

You can tell this from the framing of my original question up above: "Hey, why are there two covers for (what I thought was) the same thing?".

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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I presumed "City of Glass" was originally an LP-length release.

I believe it was, just as a 10" LP. The term "LP" was used to denote an "album" playing @ 33 1/3 playing speed, be it 10" or 12".

So unless the COG material was originally released on 78s, your presumption is correct.

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The 10-inch of City of Glass that my mom had (the one I still have), is the one below on the left (with the expanded globe).

But I just noticed this different cover (the one on the right) on-line (with the cool, translucent buildings!).

What's the story of two different covers? - for such an crazy work that it would be hard to imagine there being two different covers for.

I kinda wish I had the other one with the buildings (here it is even bigger). That's a pretty cool cover!

I came pretty close to bidding on this: Kenton 10", since it is a great artifact, but decided that with another upcoming move I didn't need one more "thing" when I would always play the CD anyway. About half a day left to bid. (No relationship to the seller...)

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The liner notes of the CD indicate that there was an earlier orchestration of City of Glass  that did not include strings.  Was this version ever recorded?  Is it on the Gunther Schuller CD?  

Also, why is This Modern World not in the album order on this CD?  I guess I will have to burn a CD in the correct order. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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No one can answer my question?

The liner notes of the CD indicate that there was an earlier orchestration of City of Glass  that did not include strings.  Was this version ever recorded?  Is it on the Gunther Schuller CD?  

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Incredible recording! I remember a DJ friend of mine playing it on his show about 20 years ago. The recording was made before I was born but it seems as if it was the first hardcore avant-garde group improvisation work that I know of. I was stunned to know that this type of work came so early. Again, I don't know of any other recording of this particular genre that existed before City of Glass....

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I listened to this, twice a year, for many years.  I still have the CD.  It is the first and only disc I have thrown across a room.  It made me angry.  I'm not a musician so I can't/won't comment on the musicianship.  I guess it's just me but I find it to be completely devoid of emotion.  Maybe that was the point of it?  I tried and really wanted to like it but I just find it irritating.  For me, Holman and Russo charts all day long.  This?  Not so much.     

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17 minutes ago, scooter_phx said:

I listened to this, twice a year, for many years.  I still have the CD.  It is the first and only disc I have thrown across a room.  It made me angry.  I'm not a musician so I can't/won't comment on the musicianship.  I guess it's just me but I find it to be completely devoid of emotion.  Maybe that was the point of it?  I tried and really wanted to like it but I just find it irritating.  For me, Holman and Russo charts all day long.  This?  Not so much.     

I am the opposite.  For me, I prefer Graettinger, Rugolo, and Richards.  Holman and Russo charts tend to be plodding and tedious IMO.

The CD version of City of Glass is poorly sequenced.  

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59 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I am the opposite.  For me, I prefer Graettinger, Rugolo, and Richards.  Holman and Russo charts tend to be plodding and tedious IMO.

The CD version of City of Glass is poorly sequenced.  

interesting; I think Holman is over-rate but I like Russo. Graettinger, however, I love.

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2 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

interesting; I think Holman is over-rate but I like Russo. Graettinger, however, I love.

In fairness, there is a lot of Kenton out there, and I may not have heard the best Holman or Russo.

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Willie Maiden!

 

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This one was in the book with the title "Orgasm". 

 

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Back in the 70's I found a box set of City of Glass on 45's at a Goodwill store.
MjYtNzk2NS5qcGVn.jpeg

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The above jacket artwork could've been used for Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead'.  

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On 3/4/2017 at 11:00 AM, Teasing the Korean said:

Also, why is This Modern World not in the album order on this CD?  I guess I will have to burn a CD in the correct order. 

That is odd--forgot about that, but just pulled out the CD and you're right.  Not sure why they did that for the reissue, except that the prevailing mentality for Blue Note/Capitol and Mosaic reissues and sets in the early/mid-1990s often seemed to tack towards preferring to put recordings in chronological sequence. If Graettinger and/or Kenton did intend to order those pieces in the sequence that originally came out, seems like a disservice to have undone that when the "This Modern World" material was included on the City Of Glass CD compilation. Good liner notes for that CD reissue, btw, by Max Harrison.  

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1 hour ago, ghost of miles said:

That is odd--forgot about that, but just pulled out the CD and you're right.  Not sure why they did that for the reissue, except that the prevailing mentality for Blue Note/Capitol and Mosaic reissues and sets in the early/mid-1990s often seemed to tack towards preferring to put recordings in chronological sequence. If Graettinger and/or Kenton did intend to order those pieces in the sequence that originally came out, seems like a disservice to have undone that when the "This Modern World" material was included on the City Of Glass CD compilation. Good liner notes for that CD reissue, btw, by Max Harrison.  

Thanks.  I have never liked nor understood chronological album presentations.  It takes a certain amount of skill and creativity to create a compelling track sequence.  

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On 4/2/2005 at 1:40 PM, JSngry said:

Just finished a refresher listen to this disc, and what I was most struck by this time was how much rhythm there is in Graettinger's music. Not "swing" rhythm (usually), but rhythm nevertheless, and strong, pulsating rhythm at that, multi-layered/leveled rhythms that play off of each other, that exist as seperate entities yet connect to a larger whole. Pretty amazing stuff, actually, and totally original, I think. How much of this was a direct, literal result of his system of graphic notation (a system I've yet to see delved into to any satisfactory degree, unfortunately), or how much of it was a result of his using the notational system as a means to a to some degree predetermined end, I can't even begin to speculate. Not that it really matters...

 

Another thing that struck me was the arrangement of "You Go To My Head". I'd had this for years on the old THE KENTON ERA Capitol LP Box set, which was a collection of live recordings and studio "leftovers", and in that context, it struck me as a refreshing oddity of sorts. But heard in the context of an all-Graettinger program, I find it to be a somewaht sly "serious joke", at least in terms of the relationship between the song title and the arrangement. That creep-crawly sax section figure is obviously going to somebody's head, and it's fascinating to hear how it recedes into the subconscious for the second A-section, only to re-emerge in a different, more fully-blown & troublesome manifestation in the second half of the bridge, threatening a full-fledged takeover of the head in question. The end of the melody offers no happy endings either, other than that creepy-crawly figure never really gets the upper hand.

 

In a prior post, I mentioned how Stan Kenton's music often lacked an "organic" quality to me. By that, I meant that too often I hear it as either a superficial grafting of elements of an exaggeration of otherwise normal, mediocre even, elements, elements that can be found in more natural (and dare I say, "healthy") manifestations elsewhere. Such is not the case with Bob Graettinger's work, however. This cat might have be a loner, an eccentric, a genuine freak for that matter, but by god, he was in his world all the way, and there was no room inhis world for compromise, cheapness, "career moves", or anything else that interfered with his vision. If it was a vision that ultimately had a built-in limitation of scope, so be it. It was his vision, and he pursued it undauntingly in his writing.

 

The usual criticisms of this music is that it's "cold", "mechanical", or best/worst of all, that it "isn't jazz". "Cold" is a matter of perception, I suppose, but I hear/feel it as more "detached", the product of a observational mind presenting portraits of what he sees than somebody attempting to find and define themselves through their music. If anything, this music is extremely "self-less" in many ways (along those lines, I'd love to hear what Lee Konitz has to say about playing this music, and about Graettinger himself...).

 

In Lee Konitz: Conversations On The Improviser's Art, there's this exchange on page 82:

Andy Hamilton:  Did you know Bob Graettinger, the arranger?

Lee Konitz:  We played something he wrote for saxes on a standard, "You Go To My Head."  It was very unique.  I just met him at the rehearsal, I didn't really get to know him.  He was a very interesting composer, but I guess wasn't able to take care of himself.  Some of what he wrote, "City Of Glass" maybe, didn't have much jazz indication; it sounded like modern classical music to me, with some saxophones added.  I love to hear nonconventional orchestration, but I feel that it was kind of forced in some way.  I haven't listened to that work for many years--I'd be curious to hear it again, maybe I'd hear it differently.

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"jazz indication"....that's an interesting phrase....

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6 hours ago, Bill Nelson said:

The above jacket artwork could've been used for Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead'.  

That's probably no coincidence. Graettinger lived for a few years with the infamous Gail Madden, who along with Gerry Mulligan, were Ayn Rand fanatics.

They would act out entire scenes from The Fountainhead during their month-long sojourn from NY to California, where Madden introduced Graettinger to Mulligan.

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2 hours ago, sgcim said:

That's probably no coincidence. Graettinger lived for a few years with the infamous Gail Madden, who along with Gerry Mulligan, were Ayn Rand fanatics.

They would act out entire scenes from The Fountainhead during their month-long sojourn from NY to California, where Madden introduced Graettinger to Mulligan.

I wish I did not know this, but such is life.

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I'm impressed that Graettinger had a say with the Capital art department!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

On 10/29/2005 at 10:05 AM, ejp626 said:

I see that the 1947 version of City of Glass was recorded fairly recently by Gunter Schuller, as discussed here: Graettinger Has anybody heard this?

That's a dead link, so I can't be sure if this is the same thing -- but I just remembered I have a copy of this Gunther Schuller conducted remake of Graettinger compositions...

https://www.discogs.com/release/6943696-Pete-Rugolo-Franklyn-Marks-Robert-F-Graettinger-Ebony-Band-City-Of-Glass

Here's a taste, and then the second YouTube link is a playlist with the entire album...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVFlOgwgmEs&list=OLAK5uy_mwmOB9xhUfuwWgBNa24EIOn71RpChG3oE

At least I think that's the link the playlist (or go to YouTube and search on "city of glass ebony band").

BTW, I'd forgotten about even owning this, until I picked up my copy of the Kenton City of Glass CD comp on Capital a few minutes ago -- and low and behold I have it in a 2CD case, with the liners and the disc from the Schuller/Ebony-Band CD included (a little treat hiding inside!!).  Every once in blue moon I'll discover two related individual CD's that I've paired that way in a 2CD case (over a decade ago), and plum forgotten about completely!!

Another taste...

 

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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