Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra benefit concert wows audience - The University of Tulsa
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Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra benefit concert wows audience

Vernon Howard, Mike Vax and Ron Predl

Original Kenton lead jazz trumpeter Mike Vax led the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra (SKLO) through an exciting two hours of classic Kenton and new compositions by former Kenton writers and current fellow band members in TU’s Lorton Performance Center this spring.

The concert launched the band’s 2023 national tour, the first since their pandemic touring hiatus. The free event was sponsored by the Kendall College of Arts & Sciences, Interim Dean Kirsten Olds, and the School of Music Advocates.

TU Jazz Studies Director Vernon Howard introduced Vax and SKLO as they kicked off their unique and moving jazz setting of America the Beautiful. A Kenton trademark was to always open concerts with a stirring patriotic tribute. Vax interspersed the program with interesting and amusing stories of his days with the Kenton band, providing personal and interesting insights into the legendary band leader and his extended family of extraordinary musicians and composers.

Eight of the former Kenton band members, now octogenarians, were on stage and never missed a beat as the 19-piece ensemble filled the house with the classic Kenton sounds, including classics like Intermission Riff, Here’s That Rainy Day, Peanut Vendor, Young at Heart, I Remember You, and the screaming Latin closer Malaguena.

After the concert, Vax and band members autographed SKLO CDs in the lobby. It was the perfect ending to this most exciting and memorable evening of the legendary Kenton sound that benefited the SOMA student talent scholarship fund.