Stan Kenton – Cuban Fire! (Full Album)

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Cuban Fire! is an album by Stan Kenton and his orchestra released in 1956 by Capitol Records. This was Stan Kenton’s big band’s first full-length recording of Afro-Cuban-styled music. The LP charted for four weeks in Billboard starting on September 15, 1956, peaking at #17. The concept of the original 1956 recording centers on the Cuban Fire! suite Kenton had commissioned from composer Johnny Richards. The 1991 CD re-issue is augmented with one extra track from the 1956 sessions and five cuts recorded four years later by the first of Kenton’s mellophonium orchestras.

“This CD contains one of the classic Stan Kenton albums, a six-part suite composed and arranged by Johnny Richards. The Kenton orchestra was expanded to 27 pieces for these dates including six percussionists, two French horns and six trumpets. With such soloists as tenor-great Lucky Thompson (on “Fuego Cubano,”) trombonist Carl Fontana, altoist Lennie Niehaus, Bill Perkins on tenor and trumpeters Sam Noto and Vinnie Tanno, and plenty of raging ensembles, this is one of Stan Kenton’s more memorable concept albums of the 1950s.” – Scott Yanow/AllMusic.

Track listing:
All tracks written by Johnny Richards (original LP) and all others except Gene Roland for track #10 and Stan Kenton for #12.

1. “Fuego Cubano (Cuban Fire)” 6:02
2. “El Congo Valiente (Valiant Congo)” 5:53
3. “Recuerdos (Reminiscences)” 5:01
4. “Quien Sabe (Who Knows)” 4:49
5. “La Guera Baila (The Fair One Dances)” 5:09
6. “La Suerte de los Tontos (Fortune of Fools or Fools Luck)” 4:20
7. “Tres Corazones (Three Hearts)” 2:59
8. “Malibu Moonlight (Sonatine)” 3:51
9. “El Panzon” 4:34
10. “Carnival (Carnival Square)” 5:21
11. “Wagon (original score entitled “On The Wagon”)” 3:05
12. “Early Hours (Lady Luck)” 2:56
Total length: 54:00


May 22–24, 1956
Piano, Conductor – Stan Kenton
Alto saxophone – Lennie Niehaus
Tenor saxophone – Bill Perkins, Lucky Thompson
Baritone saxophone – Bill Root
Trumpet – Al Mattaliano, Ed Leddy, Lee Katzman, Phil Gilbert, Sam Noto, Vinnie Tanno
French Horn – Irving Rosenthal, Julius Watkins
Trombone – Bob Fitzpatrick, Carl Fontana, Don Kelly, Kent Larson
Tuba – Jim McAllister
Guitar – Ralph Blaze
Bass – Curtis Counce
Drums – Mel Lewis
Timpani – George Gaber, Saul Gubin
Maracas – Mario Alvarez
Bongos – Willie Rodriguez
Claves – Roger Mozian
Timbales – George Laguna
Congas – Tommy Lopez

September 19–21, 1960
Piano, Conductor – Stan Kenton
Conductors – Johnny Richards, Gene Roland
Alto saxophone – Gabe Baltazar
Tenor saxophone – San Donahue, Paul Renzi
Baritone saxophone – Marvin Holladay
Baritone saxophone, bass saxophone– Wayne Dustan
Trumpet – Bud Brisbois, Dalton Smith, Sam Noto, Bob Rolfe, Steve Huffsteter, Johnny Audino (Audino first two days only, cuts 8-11)
Mellophonium – Dwight Carver, Joe Burnett, Bill Horan, Tom Wirtel – and Gene Roland (Roland solos only on Early Hours)
Trombone – Dick Hyde, Ray Sikora
Bass trombone – Jim Amlotte, Bob Knight
Tuba – Albert Pollan
Bass – Pete Chivily
Drums – Art Anton
Bongos/congas – George Acevedo


Released: Cuban Fire!
-1956 original LP
-1991 re-issue CD
Recorded: May 22–24, 1956
in New York City (original LP)
September 19–21, 1960
in Los Angeles (extra re-issued material on CD)
Length: 54:00
Label: Capitol
Producer: All original LP recordings
by Lee Gillette
Re-issued CD by Ted Daryll