Dec 21, 2017

1970's Stan Kenton Band: A Newly Found Vibrance

Creative World was the record label Stan Created after he left Capitol Records at the end of the 60's.

Albums like Birthday in Britain, 7.5 on the Richter Scale, Plays Chicago, and Journey into Capricorn were all released in the 1970's. I particularly like these albums, they have a contemporary feel to them.

I think the younger guys with Kenton during this period opened him up to a less complex and more swinging approach. OK, a little more commercial they are as well.

While no ground breaking is going on with these Creative World albums, Plenty of high quality Modern Big Band is offered. The rock and funk elements show up in some tunes, I like that style though.

Plays Chicago is my favorite of Kenton's 70's albums, nice funky sound updating some of the band Chicago's best tunes.

Kenton's Death-

Near the end of Stan Kenton's life, always a heavy drinker, his martini habit worsened, and in 1977, during one of his binges he fell and hit his head.

From then on it was a steady decline, and finally in august of 1979 Kenton had a major stroke, he did not recover and passed away on August 25, 1979.

He is buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles. Kenton's legacy lives on through his compositions. Stan donated all of his music to North Texas State University.

Many compositions have been commissioned over the years, and former band members have kept the music alive with Various tribute concerts.

December 15, 2011 was the 100th anniversary of Stan Kenton's Birth.

Buddy Rich: Without a Doubt the Greatest Big Band Drummer

Was Buddy Rich the greatest drummer ever? Well, he certainly was one of the best. Buddy was not without his critics.

 Some complaints were: Buddy's playing wasn't varied enough, and not delicate enough, perhaps more style than substance?

Buddy was anything but delicate, Buddy's playing was relentless, and the bands he lead were powerful fine tuned machines.

The band Buddy lead in the mid to late 60's was in my opinion, the finest example of a modern big band in a live setting there ever was.

Steeped in tradition, yet not afraid to incorporate more of the popular music styles of the day was Buddy's style. Buddy was a brutal task master though, often berating band members during performances, when he thought they weren't playing at his high level.

If you watch some of the wonderful DVD releases of Buddy's shows, you can certainly see that buddy gave 100 percent at all times, and he expected nothing less from his band.

Buddy influenced so many other drummers, not only in the jazz world, but the world of rock as well. Rush's Neil Peart is an example of that, Buddy could do things most drummers just simply couldn't do, he was one of the few drummers to master the one handed roll with both hands.

I was 19 years old when I first realized Buddy's greatness: Back then I was into hard rock music, I knew drummers like Neil Peart and Tommy Lee were pretty good.

When I watched a 10 minute drum solo Buddy did, and noticed the ease in which he used the kit, the power and variety, I was blown away.

Now of course once I got into other styles of modern jazz I realized that there were other drummers that could rival Buddy. I am biased to Buddy because of my own Fathers love for him, and I always appreciated his no bull-shit attitude.

Even today I can't find a rock drummer his equal, only other Jazz drummers come close, and those drummer's have long since been gone as well.  Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, and Tony Williams are some of my favorites other than Buddy.

To me, Tony Williams was the greatest groundbreaking drummer of all time, he was on Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch, started with the Davis quintet, before age 20! Buddy though, as a technical ass-kicking drummer was without a doubt, the Boss!

Note: Photo is back cover of the Rich Speak No Evil LP.

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