Fresher than ever, big-band music in the style of Stan Kenton will be front-and-center at this one-time concert. Consisting of alumni from Kenton’s 1956–1978 bands as well as some fine younger players, the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra tours sections of the United States every year; this is their first appearance in western Massachusetts.
The band performs some of the well-known music from the Stan Kenton library... both the original arrangements as well as modern adaptations. Additionally, they present fresh new material written in the Kenton style, much of it composed by members of the band. The writing stable includes Kenton alumni Lennie Niehaus, Dale DeVoe, and Kim Richmond, among others.
Many of the band’s performances are in schools, with free afternoon workshops, such as today’s event in Great Barrington. The Monument Mountain Regional High School Jazz Band will share the stage with the legacy band of Stan Kenton, one of the last of the real jazz “road bands.”
Leader Mike Vax has led a big band off and on since his days at College of the Pacific over 50 years ago. His credits include first trumpet, soloist and road manager of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, as well as co-leader while Kenton was recovering from surgery. Vax also played lead trumpet in Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band; led the Dukes of Dixieland in New Orleans; and produced and/or served as music director for more 50 jazz festivals. He has performed and presented workshops for more than 3,000 high schools, colleges and universities all over the world.
“Sharp and smokin' from the outset, and there's never a letdown.” (All About Jazz)
Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the concert. Students $10.