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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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WOODY HERMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA

That's Where It Is

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 845

 

 


1. The Thirteenth Instant
2. Misery Stay Away From My Door
3. The Devil And This Stoker
4. Blues From Indian Jim
5. The Swing Machine
6. Johnny On The Spot
7. Lament For Linda
8. Summer Nights
9. The Magpie
10. Panatela
11. In A Misty Mood
12. Catty Corner
13. That's Where It Is
14. Easy Walker
15. Draw Night
16. Freud's And Alice's
17. Aurora
18. Wood Pecker's Ball
19. Golden Gate
20. Way Up There
21. Take The 'D' Train
22. Reed Blues
23. Pretty Little Girl
24. Y'Know What I Mean

Tracks 1-3
Woody Herman - Clarinet, alto sax, vocals
Irving "Marky" Markowitz, Reunald Jones, Bernie Glow, Red Rodney, Ernie Royal - Trumpets
Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Cleveland, Jim Dahl, Frank Rehak - Trombones
Sam Marowitz - Alto sax
Al Cohn, Dick Hafer, Don Lanphere - Tenor saxes
Gene Allen - Baritone sax
Nat Pierce - Piano
Billy Bauer - Guitar
Milt Hinton - Bass
Don Lamond - Drums

Tracks 4-6
Same personnel but Zoot Sims - Tenor sax and Eddie Costa - Vibes added
Barry Galbraith replaces Billy Bauer
Tracks 7-12
Same personnel but Burt Collins replaces Bernie Glow on trumpet

Tracks 13-24
Woody Herman - Clarinet, alto sa
Bill Chase, Billy Hunt, Dave Gale, Gerry Lamy, Paul Fontaine - Trumpets
Phil Wilson, Bob Rudolph, Henry Southall - Trombones
Paul Gonsalves, Dick Hafer, Jack Stevens - Tenor saxes
Gene Allen - Baritone sax
Nat Pierce - Piano
Freddie Green - Guitar
Chuck Andrus - Bass
Jake Hanna - Drums

 

Woody Herman had so many bands (mostly called "Herds") that they are difficult to keep track of. As far as I can ascertain, in his early days he played for Isham Jones and, when Jones retired in 1936, Woody took over leadership of the group which they then called "The Band That Plays the Blues". His ensemble became Herman's Herd ("The First Herd") in the 1940s and then the Second Herd in 1946 or 1947 (the famous "Four Brothers" band). The Third Herd arrived in the 1950s, after which we got the Swinging Herds and the Thundering Herds.

I don't know where that places this CD, which comprises sessions recorded respectively in 1959 and 1963. The bands still contained high-class musicians, such as Red Rodney, Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Cleveland, Al Cohn and Milt Hinton (in 1959) and Bill Chase, Phil Wilson, Paul Gonsalves, Freddie Green and Jake Hanna (in 1963), with Nat Pierce an integral pianist and arranger on every track. Sadly, the sleeve doesn't indicate who the soloists are but you can be assured of the sort of high-powered, swinging big-band music that Woody Herman's bands supplied consistently during his 50 or more years as a bandleader. There is perhaps not the sort of wild near-anarchy of earlier recordings like Caldonia and Apple Honey but the playing is still of top quality.

Listing the star musicians in these groups, one shouldn't forget Woody himself, whose clarinet often soars above the band rapturously. Eddie Costa's vibraphone adds an attractive sound to nine tracks, reminding us of the earlier Herds which used Margaret Hyams on vibes.

Of special note are Misery Stay Away From My Door, which has Herman vocalising in a manner which recalls "The Band That Plays the Blues". Woody also sings uncredited on The Devil and the Stoker. Johnny On The Spot (arranged by Nat Pierce) has a nice tenor sax solo which may be by Zoot Sims. Summer Nights has a mournful alto solo and In A Misty Mood has an impressively stratospheric trumpet solo. Phil Wilson's unusual trombone style is heard in his own arrangement of Draw Night.

The album omits any of Woody Herman's hits, although it has a sidelong reference to his greatest hit in Wood Pecker's Ball, which seems to have Paul Gonsalves' trademark swirling on tenor sax. This album is not a "must-have" but it is a very acceptable collection of swinging big-band jazz in the mode that Herman provided for so many years.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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