Stan Kenton: The Opener
Stan Kenton (piano)
Kenton Showcase (Capitol Jazz 25244)
Buddy Childers, Vic Minichiello, Stu Williamson, Don Smith (trumpets); Bob Fitzpatrick, Frank Rosolino, Milt Gold, Joe Ciavardone, George Roberts (trombone); Dave Shildkraut (alto sax), Bill Perkins, Mike Cicchetti (tenor saxes); Tony Ferina (baritone sax), Bob Lesher (guitar), Don Bagley (bass), Stan Levey (drums).
Composed by Bill Holman.
Recorded: Hollywood, CA, March 2, 1954
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Kenton may not have been entirely comfortable with Bill Holman's musical direction, but he bought everything that Bill wrote for the band, and recorded an entire 10" LP featuring Holman's music. "The Opener" is relatively quiet at the beginning, but the musical lines weave in and out, engaging the listeners' ear immediately. Rosolino, Mariano and Noto solo (and Kenton comps nicely behind them, thank you). The beauty of Holman's writing for Kenton is his relaxed swing feel (even though these are almost even eighth notes), with the harmonic and linear advantages of all those horns to use. Kenton must have felt the proceedings were getting out of hand, for he disbanded soon after these recordings, and for his next few recording sessions used only his own arrangements.
Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof