When I was going through Wikipedia, looking up Stan Kenton, I noticed his band was labelled as “controversial” so I went looking for the reason behind this labelling. I guess one of the main reasons for it would be in 1956, the Critics Poll in Down Beat reflected victories by black musicians in virtually every category. In response, Kenton dispatched a telegram which lamented “a new minority, white jazz musicians,” and stated his “disgust [with the so-called] literary geniuses of jazz.”.
There’s also the part where his daughter accuses him of a sexual relationship, but that claim was never proven and just remains a creepy antidote for now. I also am not focusing on sexual perversions in musicians right now as that may take forever, but do have a post planned that talks about cultural and music appropriation and bastardizations since it is Black History Month.
Jazz was started within the African American community in the late 19th century, much like hip hop was a few decades ago for you young ones. Stan Kenton was a white man, that entered the scene and later criticized the recognition the black artists were finally receiving. This might be the most outright case of biting the hand that feeds you when it comes to appropriation, but certainly isn’t the only one as my post tomorrow will go through. Pardon my language, but how in the fuck are you going to be disgusted with men of the same culture that created the genre you’re playing in winning some well deserved recognition?!?
Well, with that slight rant over, here’s a little EP from Mr. Kenton.
Stanley Newcomb “Stan” Kenton (December 15, 1911 – August 25, 1979) was a pianist, composer, and arranger who led an innovative, influential, and often controversial American jazz orchestra. In later years he was active as an educator.
Sketches on Standards
Begin the Beguine
There’s a Small Hotel