Stan Kenton: Thermopylae
Stan Kenton, Orchestra
City of Glass (Capitol 7243 8 32084 2 5)
Composed by Bob Graettinger.
Recorded: New York, December 6, 1947
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
The Grand Guignol of Progressive Jazz, 24-year-old composer Bob Graettinger’s 3-minute nightmare is a musical vision of Hell. In 480 B.C. Thermopylae was the site of a bloodbath between 250,000 Persian invaders and 300 Spartan defenders. Graettinger evokes the carnage of hand-to-hand combat by unleashing a monumental maelstrom of unrelieved dissonance. The ensemble onslaught admits no solos, but lead altoist George Weidler swoops overhead like a bird of prey reconnoitering a fleshly smorgasbord. Coming just two years after the modern mayhem of World War II, "Thermopylae" was a grim reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Not for the fainthearted.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz