This label has issued 24 CDs of Kenton’s Music in Miniature concerts. I’ve heard most of the concerts in other forms over the years, and I’m quite prepared to accept that this CD contains what is probably the two finest. Certainly it is one of the best recorded and, being by the ill-fated New Concepts band, holds some of the hottest and most lively music from Stan’s career.
It was Kenton’s turn to have Conte Candoli and he made the most of it, so that Conte is better featured here than he was with any other band that he played with. He is at his blazing best on “Blues Before and After” where Konitz makes sure the heat doesn’t drop – he too plays some of his best ever work with Kenton on the (2) tracks. Rosolino melts the tarmac too, and the band ensembles that catapult him through “23˚” show a band on fire. Zoot’s “Zoot” swings with an extra driving eloquence and Levey has a ball with him. Bob Burgess contributes an outstanding version of Rugolo’s beautiful “Collaboration”. Stan gives favourite son Buddy Childers a nice feature in each concert and Konitz flies again on Holman’s chart of “Limelight” – this could just be his best ever recording with Stan. He drags Burgess and the Count along with him in his slipstream, and Levey caps his field day.
This was the time when everything went right. A week after the second concert on 11 November the band was in one of the most horrible band bus crashes ever, with several musicians suffering injuries to their jaws and the band fell apart.
(1) Theme and Variations; Sweets; Poem for Trumpet; Hav-A-Havana; Collaboration; Frank Speaking; Autumn in New York; Taboo; (2) Theme and Variations; Blues Before and After; I Got It Bad; Solo for Buddy; 23˚ North-82˚ West; Zoot; Limelight; Artistry in Rhythm (59.35)
(1) Buddy Childers, Conte Candoli, Don Dennis, Don Smith, Vic Minichiello (t); Bob Burgess, Frank Rosolino, Bill Russo, Keith Moon (tb); Bob Dockstader (btb); Vinnie Dean, Dave Schildkraut (as); Zoot Sims, Bill Holman (ts); Tony Ferina (bar); Kenton (p); Sal Salvador (g); Don Bagley (b); Stan Levey (d). NYC 27 October 1953.
(2) as (1) but Lee Konitz (as) replaces Dean. Rochester, NY, 3 November 1953.
Sounds of Yester Year DSOY2097