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Stan Kenton
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    (December 15, 1911-August 25, 1979)
    Born in Wichita, Kansas
    Progressive jazz pianist, composer, and arranger
    Singles include ‘Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me,’ ‘And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine,’ ‘How Many Hearts Have You Broken,’ ‘Tampico,’ ‘It’s Been a Long, Long Time,’ ‘Just a-Sittin’ and a-Rockin’,’ ‘Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy,’ ‘Oklahoma Waltz,’ ‘How High the Moon,’ ‘Orange Colored Sky,’ and the Dragnet theme
    Creator of the namesake Stan Kenton Band Clinics (1950s)
    Grammy Award winner for Best Jazz Performance – Large Group (Instrumental; ‘West Side Story’ in 1962 and ‘Adventures in Jazz’ in 1963)
    Playboy Jazz Poll’s Jazz Artist of the Year (1957-60)
    Grammy Hall of Fame inductee for 'Artistry in Rhythm' (1985)
    Founder of the Creative World label (Capitol subsidiary, 1970)
    For a time, he thought he was born two months later — as did many media sources.
    This was deliberate on his mother’s part, as he was actually born out of wedlock.
    His mother tried to teach him piano, but he was not initially interested.
    If any big band listeners were expecting him to take his cues from Count Basie, they would be terribly disappointed.
    His Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra, created in 1950 after a one-year hiatus, was made up of 39 players — and proved too much to handle.
    Drunk and likely inspired by his own parents’ mistreatment of him, he raped his daughter Leslie (his only child by his first wife, 1952).
    He suffered two significant accidental falls in the 1970s, the latter to his skull.
    Ultimately, his clinics led to too many copycat bands while his own sounded like something that would be heard at a college or university football match.
    Some of the players he met in his earliest travels would go on to become members of his first bands.
    He named his first orchestra after his theme song ‘Artistry in Rhythm’ (1941).
    His early bands favored high-note trumpets and thick tenor vocals.
    Roughly two dozen composers and arrangers, 12 dozen instrumentalists, and ten vocalists would be featured in his works.
    Since his focus ultimately shifted to jazz education, it mattered little to him that he had essentially cloned his bands.
    And yet he continued to tour right up until his dying days.
    His daughter’s book ‘Love Affair’ (2010) addresses their turbulent family relationship.

Credit: Cool It All Right?

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