The Stage Door Still Swings (And Movies Too) – Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, Directed by Mike Vax

The Stage Door Still Swings (And Movies Too) – Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, Directed by Mike Vax

Label: Summit Records

Release date: Aug '23

Catalog number: 814


Lullaby of Broadway (from Golddiggers of 1935)
comp: arr. Lennie Niehaus
Tonight (from West Side Story)
comp: Leonard Bernstein
Young at Heart (from Young at Heart)
comp: Johnny Richards
My Foolish Heart (from My Foolish Heart)
comp: Victor Young, Ned Washington
Young and Foolish (from Plain and Fancy)
comp: Albert Hague
I Have Dreamed (from The King and I)
comp: Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein
Baubles, Bangles & Beads (from Kismet)
comp: G. Forrest, R. Wright
Through The Eyes of Love (from Ice Castles)
comp: Marvin Hamlisch
How High the Moon/Ornithology (from Two for the Show/Charlie Parker)
comp: Morgan Lewis, Nancy Hamilton
Yesterdays (from Roberta)
comp: Jerome Kern
Shadow of Your Smile (from The Sandpiper)
comp: Johnny Mandel
Love Theme from Hair (from Hair)
comp: Williams, Rado, Ragini, MacDermot
Pennies from Heaven (from Pennies from Heaven)
comp: A. Johnson, J. Burke
All The Things You Are (from Very Warm for May)
comp: Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein
The Party's Over (from Pajama Game)
comp: Styne, Compton, Green

With solos from the likes of Bob Florence, Carl Saunders, and many more, this is the definitive culmination of all the great (Broadway and Movie) music that the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra has played during 22 tours around the country.

This CD represents 3 things for Mike Vax:
1. His musical life and love of Kenton since he heard his first recording.
2. 32 years of leading, booking, promoting, sweating, caring, countless hours spent, and the joy of working to keep Stan Kenton’s legacy alive.
3. The relationships with literally 100 musicians who have played in the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra over the years.


STAN KENTON LEGACY ORCHESTRA PERSONNEL 1991-2023ALTO SAX: Kim Richmond, Steve Wilkerson, Scott Petersen, Chuck Carter, Mary Fettig, Paul McGinley, Keith Kaminsky, Nancy Newman, Ben Burget, Phil Hilger TENOR SAX: Bill Trujillo, Richard Torres, Roy Reynolds, Mary Fettig, Pete Gallio, Alex Murzyn, Alan Yankee, Kim Park, Rick Condit, Billy Kerr. Woody Witt, Bill Prince, Teri Danielsson, Gary Anderson, Woody Witt, Ann Patterson BARITONE SAX: Chuck Carter, Joel Kaye, Roy Reynolds, Scott Petersen, Bruce Johnstone, Keith Kaminsky, Nancy Newman, Phil Hilger, John Mitchell, Ann Patterson BASS SAX: Joel Kaye, Nancy Newman TRUMPET: Mike Vax, Carl Saunders, Marvin Stamm, Dennis Noday, John Harner, John Coppola, Steve Campos, Jay Daversa, Jim Oatts, Dan Fava, John Daversa, Roger Ingram, Scott Englebright, Gabe Johnson, Pete DeSienna, Steve Huffsteter, Don Rader, Paul Von Adam, Brian O’Flarhety, Jonathan Dane, Greg McLean, Bruce Gates, Dave Cooledge, Tony Bonsera, Brad Goode TROMBONE: Dick Shearer, Roy Wiegand, Dale DeVoe, George Roberts, Mike Suter, Kenny Shroyer, Scott Whitfield, Curtis Fox, John Allred, Denny Brunk, Bill Hartman, Chuck Bennett, Bob Halseth, Dean Hubbard, Rich Bullock, Dave Keim, Brian Zebreskie, Andy Baker, Rob Boone PIANO: Bob Florence, Don Haas, Liz SeslerBeckman, Bob Kafka, Jeff Collela, Brian O’Rourke, Geoff Stradling, Charlie Ferguson, Dave Kane BASS: Jim Widner, Chris Symer, Kristen Korb, Mario Suraci, Dave Stone, Ted Sistrunk, Jenifer Leitham, Chris Finet, Jason Howard DRUMS: Gary Hobbs, Jerry McKenzie, Jamey Tate, Dr. Dave Clements, Claude Askew PERCUSSION: Ramon Lopez, John Akal, Dee Huffsteter GUITAR: Jack Petersen
VOCALISTS: Scott Whitfield and Ginger Berglund



For the past 32 years, Mike Vax has done a yeoman job of keeping the legacy of the legendary big band leader Stan Kenton alive. Kenton was adamant that he did not want a ghost band under his name after he left the scene. Vax honored that wish but believed strongly that the unique approach to the music fostered by Kenton, as well as the great commitment Kenton had to jazz education should not be allowed to fall by the wayside. His solution was to form a big band that included many Kenton alumni to present programs containing both classic Kenton charts and new arrangements that captured the approach to big band music favored by Kenton. In addition, he carried on another Kenton tradition by offering clinics staffed by members of his band for players in high school jazz bands. Ultimately, he was authorized by the Kenton estate to use the name Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra. The Stage Door Still Swings (and Movies Too) (Summit—814) is a compilation of tracks including melodies from musical theater and films from a dozen concerts by the band from various combinations during its 32 years. There are charts from the old Kenton book as well as many new charts written specifically for the band. Overall, it presents a fine landscape of the music presented by this consistently impressive aggregation, offering along the way individual contributions by trumpeters Vax and Carl Saunders, saxophonists Kim Richmond and Joel Kaye, trombonists Scott Whitfield and Dale Devoe, and pianist Bob Florence. Here is an eclectic program that never wanes in its engaging appeal.

-Joe Lang for Jersey Jazz