[Dixielandjazz] A Bit OT: Stan Kenton biography reviewed

Robert Ringwald rsr at ringwald.com
Mon May 3 08:02:03 PDT 2010

But some listmates may enjoy.  

'Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra!' by Michael Sparke. Univ. of North Texas (North
Texas Lives of Musicians). May 2010. c.400p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-1-57441-284-0.
by Bruce R. Schueneman
Library Journal, May 1, 2010

Stan Kenton (1911-79) was one of the most important jazz and big band musicians of
the mid-20th century. Sparke, who has published several Kenton discographies ("Stan
Kenton: The Studio Sessions," "Kenton on Capitol" and "Creative World"), here tries
his hand at a biography. Though skimpy on Kenton's life before 1941 (the years 1911-41
are contained in a brief prelude), this is an excellent account of Kenton's 35-plus-year
professional career. Much of the material is based on numerous personal interviews,
including one with Kenton in 1973. Sparke writes that "some quotes have been slightly
adjusted to ensure accuracy and clarity" and that some have been "amalgamated."
Verdict: This detailed and fascinating look at Kenton's long career is the best book
on this musician and impresario since Carol Easton's "Straight Ahead: The Story of
Stan Kenton" (1973). Recommended for all readers with an interest in Americana, jazz,
or music generally.
-- Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Library, Kingsville

--Bob Ringwald
Amateur (ham) Radio call sign K6YBV
Fulton Street Jazz Band

Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?

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