There is a great deal written in music history books about the period of artistic experimentalism after World War II in Europe and the United States. Though overshadowed historically by other compositional endeavours in jazz at the time attributed to George RussellNeal Hefti or Lennie TristanoGraettinger and City of Glass is important in the progress that was to be part of Third stream jazz.
This overall period of the Kenton orchestra — was the most innovative and Mr. Tamborine Man - Judy Collins - Recollections in terms of purely artistic output. Stan Kenton had reformed his orchestra Stacker Lee - Harry Geller And His Orchestra - For Cat Dancers Only September with the avowed intention of playing "progressive" jazz designed specifically for the concert hall.
City of Glass and those The Happy Horn - Dick Ruedebusch - The Happy Horn Records recording sessions become a logical step starting with band leaders November - Whispers In The Shadow - November as James Reese EuropePaul Whitemanand others earlier attempting to elevate the art form of jazz beyond just " hot jazz " and jam session playing.
There is a very clear connection to be made in the progress and innovation of large ensemble music in both classical and jazz that Graettinger's opus's fit into and would not just 'appear out of nowhere. Graettinger's treatment of the sax section juxtaposed against the straight 8th note pulse with Weidler's muscular 'Hodgesesque' lead alto playing places the work firmly in the camp of Ellington's 'Jungle Music,' the influence of Benny Carter 's playing and writing is clearly evident also.
Graettinger's intention is far closer to jazz than to the modernism of Russians or any classical music of the time; this makes it no less innovative but merely assigns the lineage to a more accurate place. Graettinger didn't just write for a band, or for sections; he wrote for each individual person, more or less as Ellington did. It was so difficult to play because you were independent of the guy next to you. This is added to the CD and shows the continuity of Graettinger's writing and recorded works I Am Free - The Bunny The Bear - The Way We Rust Capitol; the chart had originally been done for the full Kenton instrumentation but was never recorded.
The small 11 piece group to include violin and cello provides some real insight to the inner workings of Graettinger's writing. The aesture nature of his arrangement and use of pantonality one might call it atonality in spots makes one wonder how June Christy is able to pick off the 9th of the F minor chord at the top of the tune; there is basically no clue given by Graettinger as to what pitch is coming for the singer the glue that holds this together is the Bb pedal point at the bottom.
After first stating the entire tune there is a tutti ensemble section that gives way to the 'last 'A' of the form'. Of the works recorded by Capitol Records"Incident in Jazz" is probably the most compositionally unified of Graettinger's and shows his full capabilities as an orchestral writer in progressive jazz or as a Third stream music composer the work was originally entitled "Incident in Sound".
Kenton comments on the unprecedented conditions this orchestra operated under, "The Capitol people were with me all the way. There were tremendous sums of money involved in recording this orchestra and selling the music that was of such an unusual nature. I remember hour upon hour in the studio while we were recording, and there was no thought of how much it would cost: the thought was only to make the finest recordings that we knew how.
Graettinger's "House of Strings" Aug 24, is recorded on a split session with popular Les Baxter sides; the Kenton 'Innovations Orchestra' as a regular touring and studio Stacker Lee - Harry Geller And His Orchestra - For Cat Dancers Only had come and gone quickly due to financial failure.
The work itself spurns a sense of symmetry and order that the other composers on the Innovations in Modern Music release adhere to. Graettinger's lack of sequential pattern and deliberative asymmetry is never frivolous due to the atonal orchestration. The work ends on Ode To Billy Joe - Joe Pass - Intercontinental tranquil note like many other of his works.
After a years hiatus from the recording of Graettinger's works, both producer Lee Gillette and Stan Kenton were able to cajole a reluctant Capitol Records management into assembling a version of the 'Innovations Orchestra' to record. This was the rewritten version of a composition first scored for Kenton's Progressive Jazz Orchestra in It was premiered, and received its sole performances, at the Civic Opera House in Chicago on April 20 and 21,with the composer conducting  the reception of the premiere by public was quite indifferent.
The 'jagged edges' akin to Anton Webern and use of free dissonance by each composer while simultaneously writing across the Vagabundo - Los Rumberos Catalanes - Mujeres De La Vida from one another are notable. In essence, the same effect was being achieved with little to no knowledge of one another's work.
The second movement The Structures is quite effective to the level of Incident in Jazz recorded almost two years before. Both are well balanced works successfully set in jazz 'grooves' juxtaposed to tonal dissonance like George Russell 's groundbreaking " A Bird in Igor's Yard " Stacker Lee - Harry Geller And His Orchestra - For Cat Dancers Only recorded by Capitol during that time.
The third and last movement is much more romantic in approach; almost to the point of imagining it being a set of opera scenes from Richard Strauss 's Elektra or Alban Berg 's Wozzeck Graettinger was long a fan of opera and ballet. After City of Glass Stan Kenton would add in an odd Graettinger composition during recording sessions until there was enough to press a second inch LP of new material.
This Modern World is varied in scope but lacks greatly what would be real jazz sensibilities; the feature written for Maynard Ferguson entitled A Trumpet Stan Kenton himself gave it that name is the only exception on this recording. Some of the works "A Thought", "Some Saxophones" were not even supervised in the recording process by Stan Kenton himself  in that he was out on tour with the orchestra. This would be Graettinger's last tenure with the Stan Kenton recordings in the studio as composer, conductor, or supervisor.
After this recording Graettinger's output dwindled and only one other piece is known of "Suite for String Trio and Wind Quartet" and was still unfinished at the time of his death in Bob Graettinger died an untimely death of lung cancer in at the age of 33; he lived a great deal of his personal life enigmatic and as a loner. Graettinger's life had been in constant turmoil. Bud Shank is quoted, "Most of I Threw A Brick Through A Window - U2 - October who knew [Bob] figured he died of a broken heart.
He lived entirely in his own little world. He could never find anybody to understand him. Graettinger is quoted, "I've never had a technique to execute my ideas. I work from the idea, and have acquainted myself with the physical laws of sound. I use a different technique for each idea.
What I hear isn't individual melodies or harmonies, but something more like abstract shapes in motion. While audiences simply reacted with their feet to his music, a kind of romanticism grew up around Graettinger that had protected him from the criticism of his peers.
His total lack of interest in material possessions leading to very primitive living conditions, his method of writing music Stacker Lee - Harry Geller And His Orchestra - For Cat Dancers Only to illustrate the different instruments much like Duke Ellingtonand his total dedication to his music above all else, insured the admiration of other musicians.
There is never complete agreement about music as controversial as City of Glass, only a consensus on either side. Asked by English record aficionado Colin Goodall, trumpeter Buddy Childers was explicit: "Either you do have the intellectual capacity to appreciate the music, or it is bullshit," Stan Kenton"Well, I tell ya, it was either Stacker Lee - Harry Geller And His Orchestra - For Cat Dancers Only greatest music the band ever presented, or the biggest pile of crap we ever played, and I still do not know which.
All tracks are written by Robert Graettinger except 2 and 12, Graettinger as arranger. Same as September 15, but add Pete Candoli to trumpets. The album has been critically well received and many reviews in books written about jazz and classical music place City of Glass as a breakthrough and milestone in American music. The Penguin Guide to Jazz numbers it among the "core collection" which jazz fans should possess. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Summertime Blues - Various - La Bamba - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Kenton.
Stan Kenton: The Studio Sessions. Balboa books Stan Kenton: This is an Orchestra. UNT Press The Kenton Kronicles. It is the combination of phenomenal musicians in every seat of the orchestra combined with the very best output from the top composers and arrangers of American jazz during that era. Very few jazz recordings equal this one. I heard the chart played correctly, it is a masterpiece of jazz arranging in my opinion.
Yes, there is a bias in this respect, go hear it for yourself on the CD. Hearing the music live. Down Beatreview. January 28, The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz 9th ed. New York: Penguin. Allmusic Review accessed September 7, Tex Ritter! Hidden categories: Articles with short description Articles with hAudio microformats.
Down Beat Jan. Billboard Magazine Nov. The Penguin Guide to Jazz.
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