Stan Kenton

Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Educator, and Innovator of Controversial American Jazz

Stanley Newcomb “Stan” Kenton was born December 15 1911 in Wichita, Kansas; although, his parents who conceived him out of wedlock told everyone he was born February 19, 1912, to hide their secret. Oddly enough Kenton didn’t know the truth of his actual birth year until he was well into his adult life. He allowed his parents to keep their dignity and his grave stone was later availed with the wrong birthdate to preserve his parents secret. 

Stan Kenton learned to play the piano while he was a young child and began touring with many different bands as a teenager. He formed his own band in 1941 and his band and style was known as “The Wall of Sound.” By the mid-60s he dove into his interests with teaching progressive jazz education and sparked big band interests in high schools and colleges.  Kenton toured with his bands all the way into the late 1970s. Kenton died of a stroke August 25, 1979.