Friday, June 17, 2011
Valiant Congo & The Fair One Dancing: Stan Kenton- Cuban Fire! (1960)
Red-hot Cuban-inspired big band jazz from the great Stan Kenton, working with a 27-piece orchestra, playing compositions by Johnny Richards. I don't always swing on a "big band" sound in this kind of Latin/Exotic jazz territory, but this is rightly and widely known as a phenomenal record and I dig it entirely. There's a lush sense of exotic adventure as might be fantasized about by patrons of Caribbean resort hotels with outdoor music venues, swaying on the patio in the cool tropical breeze; but there's also an element of boundary pushing jazz, complete with wicked little solos, expert playing, superb composition, and a strong conceptual thread. It may not be on the level of Ellington's Far East Suite, but what is? This is gonna come in handy this summer, though. Get it while it's hot.