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90 1961—An Incredible Year Now, 1961 was an incredible year. From the time we started to record with the new mellophonium section in February, till late in December, when we recorded three albums for Stan’s Adventures series and called it a day, we did so much traveling and recording, so much was going on, that it was like we never stopped moving. Or playing. Or slept. All kinds of people came and went. Musical chairs in all the sections. Bud Brisbois left. Bobby Knight left. Dee Barton, Marvin Stamm, Ray Starling, and Carl Saunders came in. In the saxophone section Marvin Holladay, Sam Donahue, and Wayne Dunstan left, but Allan Beutler, Joel Kaye, and Buddy Arnold came in. My brother Norman came in on trumpet. Stan’s wife, Ann Richards, appeared nude in Playboy and his marriage came apart. I recorded some tracks for Herman Lubinsky at Savoy Records in New Jersey and got a write-up in Down Beat. With Stan we recorded some tunes with Nat King Cole and about eight albums—The Romantic Approach, The Sophisticated Approach, West Side Story, Adventures in Standards, Adventures in Jazz, and Adventures in Blues. Two of those won Grammys , West Side Story and Adventures in Jazz. On top of that, we played about three hundred one-nighters all over the country, and Canada. We had January off, but we came back to work for Stan in February, some recording sessions in Hollywood, and, for better or worse, we had the same guys in the section—me, Marvin Holladay, Sam Donahue, Paul Renzi, andWayne Dunstan . But the sax section wasn’t the problem. We were trying to do an all-ballad album with the mellophoniums, but the intonation of the mellophoniums was not good, so they shelved it. It never came out. But over three days we did sometimes twenty takes on a tune, working all night. And a lot of guys were unhappy about the mellophoniums. There was a lot of grumbling and bad vibes, especially with the trumpet players and trombone players, which is understandable, because that was their area, the brass. Plus, the mellophoniums were loud, so everybody had to blow harder. So we did a lot of rehearsing, a lot of takes, then nine guys left because of that, probably more. 4 1 9 6 1 — A n I n c r e d ib l e Y e a r • 91 And another problem for a lot of guys was that almost the whole book was rewritten. Stan put the old book on the shelf and had arrangers write new things to include the mellophoniums, so there were now four sections: trumpets, trombones , mellophoniums, and saxes, along with the rhythm section. It was a new band. But the guys wanted the old book, everybody preferred it, because it was more swinging. It was a regular five-saxes, five-trombones, five-trumpets book, and it was more swinging charts, with charts by Lennie Niehaus, Bill Holman, Gerry Mulligan, and Don Sebesky. All the great tunes that were popular before I came in,“Peanut Vendor,”or stuff from Cuban Fire, we were wanting to play that, but we hardly did because Stan took the charts out of the book. But I looked at it like this. I said hey, this is a great innovation, the mellophonium section. Not only the sound, but because of the new book we had a lot of recording dates, because Stan wanted to feature the new section. So it was a plus. It was a lot of exposure for the band, and it was a lot of extra bread. So after that first mellophonium album, which didn’t come out, we went back in the studios in March, before the spring tour. See, Stan Kenton, once he makes up his mind, that’s it. No more maybes. We had a mellophonium section and the Stan Kenton Orchestra was now the“New Era in Modern Music Orchestra .” And over time the guys in the mellophonium section pretty much got it together. So in March, just before the spring tour, we recorded The Romantic Approach and a lot of West Side Story, and they worked, the recordings worked. The Romantic Approach, which was the first full album I did with Stan and without a singer, was all slow ballads, all the way. Stan arranged the whole thing, about ten, twelve tunes: “All the Things You Are,”“Say It Isn’t So,”“Moonlight in Vermont...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780824865702
Print ISBN
9780824835590
MARC Record
OCLC
809317572
Launched on MUSE
2012-06-26
Language
English
Open Access
N
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