the mellophoniumsthe glorious sounds produced by that sensational
team of four in the Stan Kenton Orchestra? Now read on...
Whigham: I was in the '63 band, the mellophone band, and the most
difficult thing I had to do playing first trombone in that band was
to try to estimate where the pitch was going to be with the mellophones.
It varied within roughly an octave on any given day!
were not loved at all, and we used to call them elephant horns. We used
to use the mellophone cases to play cards. That was, we thought, probably
the best thing to do with them.
to the band bus and got the mellophones out of their cases and threw
all four of them in the swimming pool. It was great to see these things
burble down to the bottom.
from Artistry with everything: Stan Kenton with Steve Voce. Photo by
can read all about that at Jazz 52nd St.
but please come back here afterwards.
Bookmark and visit the great Kenton site at your leisure later on at http://www.52ndstreet.com/kenton
for the Good News
the mellophoniums sounded like in their teething stages, the end results,
on all of the recordings I have heard, were sensational. If they had sounded
as bad as is described above obviously Stan would never have used them.
Curnow had this to say:
played on the last mellophonium band for a year, sitting between Jiggs
and Jim Amlotte in a wonderful trombone section. I must say that the
folk tales and severe criticisms of the mello and the players, in my
opinion, are nonsense.
there were pitch problems, but that was true of every section to some
extent. And those guys really worked HARD at playing in tune.
out Ray Starling's solo on Artemis & Apollo, and you'll never
doubt the value and beauty of that instrument. In fact, the entire recording
of Adventures in Time demonstrates that better than my words
loved playing with them when things were right. And that happened much
more often than we are led to believe.
band was hot! And the mellophonium section played a BIG part in that.
Bob Curnow at sierramusic.com