Horns of Plenty, Vol. 1
This is the first of three double CDs that match a disc of live performances from Stan Kenton's Mellophonium Orchestra of 1961 with a CD from a younger, comparable band, in this case the Collegiate Neophonic Orchestra of Southern California. Kenton's orchestra had been expanded to 23 with the addition of four mellophoniums, a sort of low-budget French horn that was difficult to play in tune. One of the last significant bands that Kenton led before his orchestra largely became a college stage band, this version features trumpeter Marvin Stamm, altoist Gabe Baltazar, tenor saxophonist Sam Donahue, and 14 brass. Its repertoire is comprised primarily of standards including "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," "Body and Soul," Gerry Mulligan's "Walking Shoes," and "Stompin' at the Savoy," all played the Kenton way. The Neophonic Orchestra, directed by Jack Wheaton, has very few recognizable names, but the soloists are solid and the ensembles are stirring. Among the difficult pieces that they interpret impeccably are "Tribute to a Poltegeist," "Three Sounds for Neophonic Orchestra," and "Crescendo and Diminuendo for Quintet and Neophonic Orchestra." The latter, which lasts over 16 minutes, has the group joined by the Shelly Manne Quintet. All three volumes of Horns of Plenty are heartily recommended to Stan Kenton fans.