Stan Kenton established the West Coast jazz sound and his big band in the 1940s was the breeding ground for such jazz stars as Shorty Rogers, Bud Shank, Art Pepper, Shelly Manne, Bob Cooper, June Christy, Bill Holman and Maynard Ferguson.
The dynamic pianist, composer and arranger, who died in 1979 at age 67, debuted his band in May, 1941, at the long-since-torn-down Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa.
Kenton was one of jazz's most controversial figures.
His music — characteristically brash, bold and dramatic — eschewed the foot-tapping swing feeling associated with most mainstream jazz, yet it was consistently popular from the early '40s through the late '60s. It could be said that many people then thought jazz was Stan Kenton, and vice versa.