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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



The Thundering Herd

Original Recordings 1945 – 1947




  1. Apple Honey
  2. Bijou
  3. Caldonia
  4. Goosey Gander
  5. Northwest Passage
  6. The Good Earth
  7. Your Father’s Moustache
  8. Wild Root
  9. Panacea
  10. Blowin’ Up A Storm
  11. Mabel! Mabel!
  12. Steps
  13. Igor
  14. Lady MacGowan’s Dream
  15. Summer Sequence, Parts 1-4
  16. Back Talk

This Woody Herman band changed the face of big band music forever; bassist Chubby Jackson described the style of the band as ‘charge through the brick wall jazz’. There had never been a band with such enthusiasm for what they were doing; they shouted each other on, in a totally abandoned way. No doubt the effect of more than a little stimulation of one sort or another helped! Even today, over 50 years after they were recorded these tracks are great listening. Reading the personnel lists is like a who's who of jazz. On many of the earlier tracks Flip Phillips on tenor and Bill Harris on trombone are the main soloists, they were both superb jazz musicians who made great contributions to the excitement of the music played. In later recordings both the trumpet playing Condoli brothers make exciting contributions in the brass section and Dave Tough and later Don Lamond swings the band like no other.

Woody’s own contributions are most impressive, he was a much better than average vocalist, an exciting clarinet player and an alto sax player who was very much influenced by Johnny Hodges.

The arrangements by were by two of the period’s best Neal Hefti, who wrote so many classic charts for Count Basie and pianist Ralph Burns whose beautiful Summer Sequence is included. The composition is in four parts the most famous of which Early Autumn, was added a year later and brought the then very young Stan Getz to prominence. By that time the Herman Sax section had three tenors Stan Getz, Herbie Steward and Zoot Sims, a band including them could hardly fail.

I found hearing this music again very rewarding; the quality of reproduction is very good, as are the sleeve notes by Cary Ginnell and the personnel listings.

This is one of the all time great big band albums and it still sounds very up to date some 50 years after the recordings were made.

Highly recommended.

Don Mather

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