Stan Kenton Redux
Stan Kenton had to be smiling in his grave last Tuesday when the Dennis Noday & Lee Harris Superband filled a room at the American Rock Bar & Grill in Deerfield Beach with that powerfully brassy, but mellifluous, sound which marked the Kenton ensembles of the 1940s to ’70s.
The band sounded more like an orchestra, producing a sweeping sound that rose like a giant wave and surged into every corner of the room. All 18 – get that, 18 – of the band members are stellar area musicians.
Many of the bands arrangements are by Harris, and none are charts from the commercial market. With Harris fronting, a highlight was when Noday came to the mike from his spot in the five-piece trumpet section and blasted, with sky-high notes, the solo on Maria, from West Side Story, that he has become known for. Noday was for five years the lead trumpet in the Kenton band, which had other high-note players, most notably Maynard Ferguson. He left to form his own band, and Noday later joined him, staying five years. Noday’s South Florida band has appeared in leading concert halls throughout the region.
Kenton’s band was innovative, and this ensemble echoed that inventiveness with shifting tempos, and a complex interplay of rhythms and harmonies. Several Kenton selections were featured: MacArthur Park, Intermission Riff and Maria. But the small audience also got a strong taste of the Noday/Harris band’s own flavors in numbers such as a Beatles medley and an exciting arrangement of that early American favorite, Down by the Riverside.
This was the third big band concert of the summer at American Rock, and the light attendance, believe it or not, was larger than the previous two. Harris announced that they plan to make a monthly appearance.
The next concert is set for Tuesday, Oct. 4, beginning at 8 p.m. Same $10 cover, which includes a drink. The American Rock Bar & Grill is in The Cove shopping complex, south side of Hillsborough Boulevard, east of Federal Highway.
Attend, for the best musical deal anywhere.