While I was in New York I became aware that the Kenton Band was going to appear at the
Newport Jazz Festival. I was able to persuade my father to send me a little extra cash so I could attend. I made room reservations and got the tickets and on the morning of July 4th 1963 I got on a bus for Newport. I arrived and checked into a small hotel(sans the wishing well) As evening approached I headed over to Freebody Park a few short blocks away.
The evening was warm and there seemed to be electricity in the air. I entered the park and took it all in. Wow! Here I was a somewhat niave suburban white boy at the mother of all jazz festivals. I found my seat and waited for the event to begin. As I recall the great French pianist Martial Solal lead off the festival. One of the outstanding sets that evening was given by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet.
Nina Simone was the last act before the Kenton Band came on.By this time I had wandered down toward the "snow fence" which seperated the "proles" from the press & VIPs. I remember a young black girl standing not too far away shouting "go girl " and "sing it sister "
I actually had the thought (Gee I wonder it that's really her sister ?) kind of glad I didn't ask.
At last it was time for the Kenton Band. They seemed to be in great form and the sound system seemed to be just right. George Wein had been riding heard on the sound man earlier in the evening.
After a few numbers Stan came to the mike and anounced that George Wein had flown Charlie Mariano in from Japan so he could perform with the band. Charlie came out and when he was about 10 feet from the old man he stopped and bowed to him in the Asian manner as a sign of respect. Mariano played My Funny Valentine and Stoppin' at the Savoy. When he finished there was a buzz in the crowd and Cannonball Adderley came onto the stage. Stan called up Gabe Baltazar from his sax section. Kenton stood there with one arm around Adderley's shoulder and the other around Mariano's. I seem to remember him saying something like we're "going to have a three way conversation with the blues" as he was heading back toward the piano he said "don't anybody start I have a short intro to play" ( I have since purchased the recording of this event and neither of these quotes are on it so I have either imagined them over the years or they were edited from the tape, take your pick ) After they finished Jean Turner came out and sang a few songs followed by a rousing version of Maleguena. Then it was over. The next three days flew by with an enormous amount of fantastic music and great weather. This was by far the finest four days of music I have ever experienced.
While the quality of these photos leaves something to be desired I feel the historic interest
justifies posting them.
Thanks again to Joel Kaye for the IDs. Players listed left to right in photos.
Personel: Trumpets: Buzzy Mills, Ron Keller,Gary Slavo, Ron Ossa, Bob Behrendt. Mellophoniums: Bob Faust, Bob Crull ,Tony Scodwell, Dave Horton.Trombones: Jim Amlotte (bass trombone.) Bob Curnow, Jiggs Whigham, Buddy Baker, Dave Wheeler ( bass trombone & tuba.) Saxophones: Archie Wheeler (baritone) Steve Marcus (tenor) Gabe Baltazar (alto) Ray Florian (tenor) Joel Kaye (baritone & bass) Drums: Dee Barton, Bass: John Worster, vocals: Jean Turner. piano and leader : Stan Kenton. Guests: Charlie Mariano & Cannonball Adderley.