Om Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton led one of the most successful big bands from the end of the Swing era through the counterculture revolution of the 1960s. Kenton's vision was unique and he often favored bombast and experimentation over the pulse of Swing. Oddly, the musicians he hired were the swingin'est around. Art Pepper, Anita O'Day, Shelly Manne, Shorty Rogers, Maynard Ferguson, June Christy and countless others all became stars with Kenton and went on to successful solo careers. If pretension often got the best of him, much of Kenton's music was great. Songs like "23 Degrees North - 82 Degrees West," -- which incorporated Latin rhythms without conga drums -- are still amazingly vital, while such albums as City of Glass remain cutting edge Third Stream works. Kenton's reputation suffered at the hands of latter day critics who complained that his music wasn't "black" enough. Today, people are waking up to the fact that his music was special because it sounded like no one else's.