1 January 2017

Pete Recommends…Stan Kenton Orchestra – Cuban Fire!


Each month Peter Batten recommends a recording that jazz fans may wish to add to their personal library.


Cuban Fire!

Stan Kenton Orchestra


    When the Kenton Orchestra toured the UK in 1956, I was lucky enough to get an invite to the opening concert in Croydon. The sheer power and precision of the ensemble plus the wonderful rhythm pairing of Curtis Counce on bass and Mel Lewis on drums, made a lasting impression.         They had just recorded this album, one of the finest efforts by a big band to record the true rhythms of Latin America. It consists of a suite of compositions by Johnny Richards, one of Kenton’s staff arrangers and originally from Mexico.                 The personnel is almost that which I heard in Croydon, with Lennie Niehaus on lead alto and Bill Perkins on tenor, but with Lucky Thompson added as a second tenor sax soloist. One of my favourite moments is Bill Perkins beautiful solo on “La Guera Baila (The Fair One Dances)”


[Cuban Fire was reissued in 1992 and is currently available on Just Gone Jazz as part of Stan Kenton Volume 2]


Track Listing

1. “Fuego Cubano (Cuban Fire)” 6:02

2. “El Congo Valiente (Valiant Congo)” 5:53

3. “Recuerdos (Reminiscences)” 5:01

4. “Quien Sabe (Who Knows)” 4:49

5. “La Guera Baila (The Fair One Dances)” 5:09

6. “La Suerte de los Tontos (Fortune of Fools or Fools Luck)” 4:20

7. “Tres Corazones (Three Hearts)” 2:59

8. “Malibu Moonlight (Sonatine)” 3:51

9. “El Panzon” 4:34

10. “Carnival (Carnival Square)” 5:21

11. “Wagon (original score entitled “On The Wagon”)” 3:05

12. “Early Hours (Lady Luck)” 2:56

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