Stan Kenton: Thermopylae

Track

Thermopylae

Group

Stan Kenton, Orchestra

CD

City of Glass (Capitol 7243 8 32084 2 5)

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Musicians:

19-piece band conducted by Stan Kenton, featuring George Weidler (alto sax) and Shelly Manne (drums)

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Composed by Bob Graettinger

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Recorded: New York, December 6, 1947

Albumcoverstankenton-cityofglass

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

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