Kenton, Stan - Nine Classic Albums (remastered) 4 x CDs (special)
Here's the deal: This is nine early 50s to early 60s Stan Kenton albums; City of Glass, This Modern World, Contemporary Concepts, Kenton in Hi-Fi, Cuban Fire, New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm, A Merry Christmas, Adventures in Jazz, West Side Story. You are buying this for the long out of print two 10" lps City of Glass and This Modern World, which contain some of the most hard to play, 'black page', insane, rehearsal-intensive music ever made. I mean like Henry Cow/Blast/Yugen type insanity. Until this issue, the CD of City of Glass was going for more than $50.00. You feel like your ears can take a challenge, punk? Do ya? DO YA?
"To call this music shocking would be an understatement. Bob Graettinger was one of the most radical arrangers around in the 1950s and it is doubtful whether any other jazz big-band leader other than Stan Kenton would have ever employed him. His two major works, "City of Glass" and "This Modern World," are heard in their entirety on this LP and these atonal compositions still sound extremely advanced. A large string section is employed on the former while the latter features Maynard Ferguson's screaming trumpet on two of the six movements. These performances are intense, very dense and quite scary. Recommended for open-eared listeners."-Scott Yanow/All Music Guide
"I can't help amazement at the neglect of The City of Glass and This Modern World. Where Gershwin was blending (admittedly pretty) tunes from jazz and the classical musical styles of the '20s and becoming popular, Kenton did exactly the same with the classical styles of the '50s via composers such as Graettinger. Unfortunately, the serially inspired compositional techniques of the '50s did not produce tunes that are easy to whistle or swoon over after a glass or two of wine. However, these works are highly developed. One doesn't have to go far into any of the movements to realise how much has been done with the thematic material at hand. About 'classical' musical styles of the fifties, I'd given up on Webern and Schoenberg and the few who followed that route, but surrendered to Kenton/Graettinger/Russo (et al) with ease. The works have a vibrance, a life, a turbulence and dissonance that so reflected the fifties as a cultural epoch, especially in the States which became the seat of artistic innovation at that time. I have never ceased to be amazed at how Kenton managed to create these works at all. Admittedly, he had true virtuosi like Maynard Ferguson and Johnny Graas (and many others), but the act of keeping the expanded innovations orchestra in control must have given him a real headache. But he did it. And I still sit there spellbound as I did on my first hearing (via 10-inch LPs). These works aren't for the faint-hearted. But they are for anyone who wants to experience the limits to which Kenton pushed music."