The big bands are back
in a new and exciting way!
    "For all the power, beauty, and majesty of his music, Stan Kenton remains an enigma.  That may be a little dramatic but it's the kind of drama that Kenton himself would have appreciated," it is stated.  "Certainly much of his oeuvre encompasses a long series of contradictions: he put together a series of the hardest-swinging big bands in the history of American music, but he often seemed be on an impossible dream kind of quest for a new jazz-art music hybrid in which swing was not necessarily the thing."
    In chronological order, the music on "Stan Kenton: Rarities" is:

"Stan Kenton Octet," Jul. 23, 1955 - from the "Stan Kenton Presents" jazz series
mx.20829  All I Need Is You
mx.20830  Joyce's Choice
mx.20831  Sweet Sue, Just You
mx.20832  Sue Is Suing
mx.20833  Wail for Bail
mx.20834  Did I Remember
mx.20835  Tangerine
mx.20836  Gone with the Wind

Feb. 4, 1958 - hoping for a hit single
mx.18378  Tequila
mx.18379  Cuban Mumble

Apr. 29, 1958 - band vocals a la Kenton's recording of September Song
mx.18920  In the Blue of Evening
mx.18921  I'll Close My Eyes

May 5, 1958 - an aborted "saxes and rhythm" album
mx.18939  Theme for Sunday
mx.18940  Theme to the West
mx.18941  Serenade in Blue
mx.18942  Sentimental Serenade

May 15, 1958 - a session at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood
mx.19123  Harbor Lights
mx.19124  (I Don't Stand a) Ghost of a Chance

Feb. 2, 1959 - live at the Tropicana, Las Vegas, NV
mx.31174  Walking Shoes
mx.31190  Love for Sale

    The cover - a large, smiling portrait of Kenton - is simple but attractive, and the sound quality, as was typical of Capitol in the 1950s, is quite good.  I also think that the booklet, which includes lengthy notes by Will Friedwald, is quite attractive.
Big Band Library rating: EXCELLENT

Louie Bellson, "Greetings," Fresh Sound ( Sp ) 555 [ = Verve LP MG-V8186 ].
Xavier Cugat, "Chica Chica Boom Chic!," Bygone Days 77050.
Dizzy Gillespie, "The Eternal Triangles," Fresh Sound ( Sp ) 558 [ 2-CD set; = the Verve LPs MG-V8198
      "For Musicians Only"; MG-V8260 "Duets"; and MG-V8262 "Sonny Side Up" ].
Coleman Hawkins, "Live At the Opera House," Fresh Sound ( Sp ) 556 [ = the Verve LPs MG-V8266
      "At the Opera House" (Chicago, Oct. 19, 1957) and MG-VS6029 "At the Opera House" (Philharmonic Hall, Los Angeles, Oct. 25,
      1957) ].
Woody Herman, "Let's Go to Town," Sounds of Yester Year ( UK ) DSOY 794 [ 2-CD set ].
Stan Kenton, "From Eugene Armory Live, Part One," Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 796
      [ one of three planned CDs; music recorded at a dance Feb. 19, 1953 in Eugene, OR ].
Alvino Rey, "Christmas with the King Family," Collector's Choice Music CCM-2071
      [ = the Warner Bros. LP plus 15 additional tracks from various specials and TV appearances ].
---, "The King Family Show! / The King Family Album," Collector's Choice Music CCM-2072
      [ = the 1965 Warner Bros. LPs ].
---, "The King Family Live! in the Round / The New Sounds of the Fabulous King Sisters,"
    Collector's Choice Music CCM-2073 [ = the Warner Bros. LPs ].
Fats Waller, "Fats Waller On the Air: 1938 Broadcasts," TPR ( J ) FW0102 [ contains three
      complete broadcasts: "NBC broadcast," Jul. 12, 1938 / "Broadcast to America," Sept. 10, 1938 / "Yacht Club Broadcast,"
      Oct. 18, 1938; Note: a 1999 CD, "Fats Waller and His Rhythm: A Handful of Keys" (Buddah 7446599603), already presented
      four of the seven titles from the 7/12/38 broadcast and two of the songs from the 10/18/38 broadcast.  An LP, "Fats Waller Live
      At the Yacht Club" (Giants of Jazz GOJ-1029) had four others from that date. ].
various artists, "The Big 18: Live Echoes of the Swinging Bands: The Complete
    Recordings," Fresh Sound ( Sp ) 559 [ = the RCA Victor LPs "The Big 18: Live Echoes of the Swinging
      Bands" (LSP-1921) and "The Big 18 with More Live Echoes of the Swinging Bands" (LSP-1983); NOTE: recently released as
      Jasmine ( UK ) 525 minus Quaker City Jazz; both LPs were on CD in full in 1993 as RCA ( G ) 13032 and 13033 ].

    Les Brown's Band of Renown directed by Les Brown, Jr. has recorded a new CD backing award-winning actress-singer Shirley Jones.
    "The Jones-Brown collaboration has been in the works for some time, according to Brown‘s PR people," it was stated in publicity from Edward Lozzi and Associates.  "Insiders say, Jones’ familiar hi-range soprano symphony fashion will be completely re-styled into a Les Brown arrangement-plan designed for the well known star of the American musical classics – Oklahoma, Carousel, and The Music Man."
    The recording sessions were held in Branson, MO.
    A release date has not yet been announced, but the title is expected to be issued on Brown's own label.
    "Les Brown Jr. continues the legend, performing the great band’s sound across the world and producing for artists such as Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, and Carlos Santana," according to the press release.

Xavier Cugat, "This Time for Keeps," included as part of the set "TCM Spotlight: Esther
    Williams, Volume 2," Warner Home Video.
Coleman Hawkins, "Live in '62 and '64," Jazz Icons.
Woody Herman, "Live in '64," Jazz Icons.
Gene Krupa, "George White's Scandals," Warner Archive Collection.
Alvino Rey, "Christmas with the King Family," #2175 [ as seen on PBS; includes comments by
      Yvonne King and Marilyn King of The King Sisters ].
various artists, "Thrill of a Romance," included as part of the set "TCM Spotlight: Esther
    Williams, Volume 2," Warner Home Video [ with Tommy Dorsey, Xavier Cugat ].

Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Oct. 10, Cape Girardeau, MO [ with The
    Pied Pipers ]; Oct. 11, Joliet, IL; Oct. 12, Appleton, WI [ with The Pied Pipers ].
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey: Oct. 20-22, West Palm Beach, FL.
Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Paul Mercer Ellington: Oct. 9, Sturgis Young
    Auditorium, Sturgis, MS; Oct. 10, Bloomington Performing Arts Center, Bloomington, IL;
    Oct. 11, Main Stage Theatre, Grayslake, IL; Oct. 23, AARP Convention, Las Vegas, NV.
Jan Garber Orchestra directed by Howard Schneider: Oct. 23-24, Grand Hotel, Mackinac
    Island, MI.
Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars directed by Slide Hampton: Oct.20-26, Blue Note, New
    York, NY; Oct. 28, Penn State, University Park, PA.
Hal McIntyre Orchestra directed by Don Pentleton: Oct. 20, The Sahara Club, Methuen, MA.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Oct. 1, Stiefel Theatre, Salina, KS; Oct.
    2, Orpheum Theatre, Wichita, KS; Oct. 4, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS; Oct. 6,
    Wabash Valley Community College, Mt. Carmel, IL; Oct. 9, Western Michigan University,
    Kalamazoo, MI; Oct. 10, Alberta Kimball Auditorium, Oshkosh, WI; Oct. 14, Stranahan
    Theatre, Toledo, OH; Oct. 15, Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA; Oct. 16, Palace
    Theatre, Greensburg, PA; Oct. 17, Ford Community & Performing Arts Center,
    Dearborn, MI; Oct. 18, Arcada Theatre, St. Charles, IL; Oct. 21-22, Bear Creek Farms,
    Bryant, IN; Oct. 23, Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, Renfro Valley, KY; Oct. 25,
    Athena Performing Arts Center, Rochester, NY; Oct. 27-28, Penn's Peak, Jim Thorpe,
    PA; Oct. 29, Princeton High School Performing Arts Center, Princeton, NJ; Oct. 30,
    Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Dover, DE.
Russ Morgan Orchestra directed by Jack Morgan: Oct.23-24, Pla Mor Ballroom, Lincoln,
Artie Shaw Orchestra directed by Rich Chiaraluce: Oct. 12, Mishler Theatre, Altoona, PA;
    Oct. 15, Hackettstown High School, Hackettstown, NJ; Oct. 23, Newberry Opera House,
    Newberry, SC.

Terry Gibbs, vibraphonist (Rich '48; Herman '48-'49; T. Dorsey '50; Goodman '50-'52), b. Oct. 13, 1924.
Paul Tanner, trombonist (Miller '38-'42; Miller Orch.-Beneke '46-'51), b.Oct. 15, 1917.
Norman Leyden, arranger (Miller AAF '44-'45; Miller Orch.-Beneke '46-'49; Columbia "Once Upon a Time" LP with
    Johnny Desmond, '59), b.Oct. 17, 1917.
Garry Stevens, vocalist (Spivak '41-'43; Beneke-Miller Orch. '46-'48), b.Oct. 21, 1916.
Betty Bennett, vocalist (Thornhill '46; Rey '47-'48; Ventura '49, Herman '50; Barnet '52), b. Oct. 23, 1921.
compiled by Music Librarian CHRISTOPHER POPA

    Just what big band fans have been waiting for - a new CD, "Stan Kenton: Rarities" (DRG 8510), which contains 20 never-before or little-heard selections!
    The performances, made between 1955 and 1959, have been licensed from EMI Music Special Markets (i.e., Capitol) by DRG.
    It appears that only Tequila and Cuban Mumble were previously-released (on Capitol 45 rpm no. F-3928). 
© 2009 DRG Records Incorporated
Mannie Thaler, 91, saxophonist (Miller AAF '44-'45; Miller Orch.-Beneke '46-'48 / '49; Shaw 7/2/53 Decca session),
    d.Oct. 20, 2009.  Note: Mannie's son, Stuart, told me that his father's birthdate was
    December 31, 1917 (not the 13th).  "His military discharge papers list that same
    date incorrectly too," he mentioned. 
Leo O'Connor, 86, trombonist (Norvo '42?; Crosby '47?; James '49-'50), d.Oct. 24, 2009, heart failure.

    John Kenley, one of the great theatrical producers of the Midwest, died from pneumonia on the 23rd of this month at the age of 103.
    Between 1940 and 1995, his "Kenley Players" hosted many stars of stage and screen in person, performing summer-stock and other shows in towns across Ohio and Pennsylvania.
    Among the bandleaders who headlined for him were Cab Calloway ("Bubbling Brown Sugar," 1979), Vaughn Monroe ("Annie Get Your Gun," 1957), Ozzie Nelson ("Marriage-Go-Round," 1962), and Rudy Vallee ("Once Upon a Mattress," 1973).
    Kenley also presented several big band vocalists, including Johnny Desmond ("Brigadoon," 1962), Mike Douglas ("Girl Crazy," 1962), Merv Griffin ("Come Blow Your Horn," 1963), Tony Martin ("Can-Can," 1969), and Helen O'Connell ("4 Girls 4", 1980 and 1981; "New Four Girls," 1982).

    Louie Bellson is to be posthumously honored with a "memorial certificate of recognition" from U.S. Congresswomen Diane Watson of the 33rd Congressional District, Los Angeles.  It will be formally presented to Bellson's widow, Francine, at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Jose on the 4th of this month, and the public is cordially invited.

    Larry O'Brien, leader of The Glenn Miller Orchestra, was chatting with Bill Blankenship of the Topeka, KS Capital-Journal recently, explaining that the group is constantly on the road.
    "I have to make sure my wife tells the dog I'm coming home so he doesn't bite me," O'Brien joked.  "I only get home maybe a month out of the year, and two weeks of that is Christmas."
Sheila Abrams, "Community Life: Artie Shaw's big band sound comes to Hackettstown,"
    Warren [ NJ ] Reporter, Oct. 1, 2009.
"Alumnus returns with Glenn Miller Orchestra," WMU [ Western Michigan University ] News,
    Oct. 1, 2009 [ Brian Hemstock, who graduated from WMU in 2008, returns there on the 9th of this month as the Miller band's
      lead male vocalist ].
Stacey Anderson, "The Ladies of Duke Ellington: Creole Love Call," [ New York City ]
    Village Voice, Oct. 11, 2009 [ The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra presents a three-night tribute to Ellington
      Oct. 15-17, including a cameo appearance by Duke's granddaughter, Mercedes, on the 16th ].
D. Scott Calhoun, "Edythe Wright,", Oct. 24, 2009 [ a fact-filled piece about one of
      T. Dorsey's vocalists of 1935-1939 ].
"The Count lives on," Singapore [ China ] Straits Times, Oct. 23, 2009 [ Bill Hughes, 79, explains
      how he joined The Count Basie Orchestra in 1953; he is now the leader of the group ].
"Dreaming and Believing Yields Museum," Miller Notes, Oct. 2009, p.1+ [ The Glenn Miller
      Birthplace Society is on the way to its goal of having the exterior of their new big band museum enclosed by Nov. 15th ].
"The Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum Under Construction," Miller Notes, Oct. 2009, pp.
    8-9 [ photos of construction work on the new big band museum in Clarinda, IA ].
Eileen Havey, "Journals: Cards and Letters from Vaughn,",
    Oct. 23, 2009 [ scans of postcards and letters from Vaughn Monroe to Havey, President of his fan club starting in 1942 ].
Roberta Hershenson, "The Swing Era Returns in a Tribute to a Bandleader," New York
    Times, Oct. 23, 2009 [ Stan Rubin, now age 76, still occasionally fronts an orchestra with his library of over 800
      arrangements, transcribed by Bob Friedlander from original big band recordings ].
John LaPorte, "Unusual items sometimes decorate Riverside graves," Fort Morgan [ CO ]
    Times, Oct. 23, 2009 [ Fort Morgan's Riverside Cemetery includes the graves of Glenn Miller's parents, Elmer and
      Mattie Lou Miller ].
Bob Lind, "Glenn Miller band trombone player stays in touch,", Oct. 26,
    2009 [ re: Paul Tanner, now age 92, who was with Miller from 1938-1942 ].
Howard Reich, "Jazz Review: Chicago Jazz Ensemble ignites Dizzy Gillespie," Chicago
    Tribune, Oct. 5, 2009 [ " . . . Few bandleaders in America perform music of Gillespie with as much authority or daring
      as CJE artistic director Jon Faddis.  A Gillespie disciple and a singular trumpeter, Faddis pushed the band for velocity but allowed
      no concessions on accuracy.  The result was a rare fusion of power and control . . . ," Reich wrote ].
Claire Schwartz, "Webmaster's Recommendations,", Oct. 2,
    2009 [ her choice of the best of available domestic and import CDs by Vaughn Monroe is indicated by an icon ].
Bill Swisher, "GMO & The Lesser-Known Miller," Miller Notes, Oct. 2009, p.2. [ a listing of
      seldom-heard songs performed by The Glenn Miller Orchestra at the 2009 "Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Festival," including
      Johnson Rag; The Lady's in Love with You (Gary Lamb, vocal); Fools Rush In (Michael Grillo, vocal); Sleepy Town Train; and
      Long Tall Mama ].

send feedback about October 2009 "Big Band News" via e-mail
return to "Big Band News" directory
go to Big Band Library homepage

    Prior to when he hired his most famous "Champagne Lady," Norma Zimmer, on New Year's Eve 1960, Lawrence Welk had a number of other female vocalists.     
    One of them was Jayne Walton, who sang with Welk from 1940 to 1945.
    She recently spoke with Vincent T. Davis of the San Antonio, TX Express-News, recalling the days before television, when Welk's band traveled in cars, crossing the country and playing one-night stands. 
    Her solo vocals are heard on two dozen of Welk's recordings made for Vocalion / Okeh or Decca from 1939 to 1941, including One-Two-Three-Kick, Sweet Potato Piper, Mister Meadowlark, and Elmer's Tune
    Walton, now age 92, lives in a retirement community in San Antonio.
Photo by Lisa Krantz
of the San Antonio Express-News