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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


Painted Rhythm


The Complete MacGregor Transcriptions Volume 5





  1. Pizzicato
  2. Our Waltz
  3. Tabby the Cat
  4. The Man I Love
  5. Stars in My Eyes
  6. Sergeant’s Mess
  7. And the Tears Flowed Like Wine
  8. Blue Skies
  9. I’m Going Mad for a Pad
  10. Blow Jack
  11. She’s Funny That Way
  12. Artistry in Rhythm
  13. My Guy’s Come Back
  14. It’s Never Too Late to Pray
  15. Elegie
  16. Got a Penny, Jenny
  17. Summertime
  18. Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
  19. Fine, Fine Deal
  20. More Than You Know
  21. Painted Rhythm.

These transcriptions were originally recorded for playing on the radio, but they give a fascinating insight into the development of the Kenton Band immediately prior to the Capital years, which made the band into a national treasure. Although the band was primarily a dance band at this time, certain Kenton trademarks like the heavy brass and excellent jazz solos were finding their way into his arrangements. Boots Mussulli plays some fine solos demonstrating how under rated he was as a musician. On tracks 1 to 12 an unknown young tenor sax player called Stan Getz is included in the saxophone section, he solos on track 11, it could well be his first recording session! On tracks 13 to 21 two other famous tenor saxists play, Vido Musso and Bob Cooper.

Vocals are to be heard from Anita O’Day, June Christy and a ballad singer named Gene Howard. It is interesting to note that a number of the musicians heard here moved into the Capital Band, Lead Trumpet Buddy Childers, Boots Mussulli, Vido Musso, Bob Cooper and bassist Eddie Safranski, along with vocalist June Christy.

The last track of the first session Artistry in Rhythm stayed in the Kenton Library throughout his life and was always a concert ‘show stopper’. Oddly enough, this is true of the last track of the second session Painted Rhythm.

The sleeve notes by Scott Yanow are very informative, a lot better than many on expensive releases! Just a minor point however, there is no vocal on track 21, Painted Rhythm! The band sounds remarkably like the Basie Band on Fine, Fine Deal, a blues with June Christy taking the vocal.

June Christy’s voice was ideal for the Kenton Band, she married tenor man Bob Cooper and both were featured with the band for some years. She is heard here on tracks 13, 16, & 19, she is a unique singer with an immediately identifiable voice.

I found this a very welcome the release and it is easy to see how the great Stan Kenton orchestra developed from here, the band already had some star soloists, some excellent arrangements and a really tight polished sound. The Naxos team has done another great job with regard to sound quality. In all, a very enjoyable release.

Don Mather

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