Remembering John Von Ohlen

May 13, 1941 – October 3, 2018

A set featuring drummer John Von Ohlen
with the Stan Kenton Orchestra

John Von Ohlen (May 13, 1941 – October 3, 2018) was an important drummer based in the Midwest.

Ohlen was a member of Billy Maxted’s Manhattan Jazz Band (1967-68), the Woody Herman Orchestra (1967-69) and Stan Kenton’s big band during 1970-72.

He made his biggest impact as the leader of the Blue Wisp Big Band which was based in Cincinnati from 1980 up to the present, recording several excellent albums.

Ohlen’s ability to drive a big band is very much in evidence throughout this excellent set by the Stan Kenton Orchestra which was filmed in London in Feb. 1972.

The 20-piece band, which includes trumpeters Mike Vax and Ray Brown, trombonist Dick Shearer, and altoist Willie Maiden, performs “Minor Booze,” “Chiapas,” “Artistry In Percussion,” “MacArthur Park, “Malaga,” “Intermission Riff,” “Tiare,” “The Peanut Vendor” and Kenton’s theme “Artistry In Rhythm.”

-Scott Yanow