Stan Kenton

Perhaps the founding father of avant-garde jazz, Kenton’s experimental big-band arrangements had more in common with modern classical music than swing.


  • Innovations in Modern Music (1950) A
  • City of Glass (1951) A-
  • New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm (1953) A-
  • Sketches on Standards (1953) A-
    • Makes a strong case for Kenton being a better arranger/conductor than he is composer. The decision to play the main theme of “Sophisticated Lady” on electric guitar will forever be one of his finest moments. Nevertheless, the atonalism is sorely missed.
  • This Modern World (1953) A
  • Portraits on Standards (1953) A-
    • Example #2 of why Stan Kenton may be a better arranger/conductor than composer. This collection of covers features soft and subtle arrangements, which make the brass climaxes all the more volcanic.