Monday, July 14, 2008

After You've Gone: Woody Herman

I remember discovering Woody Herman in 1963. The series of albums he put out with this group (1962-4) was some of the best big band stuff I ever heard
from an amazon review of one of those albums
But Woody Herman's band never sounded better. No recording captures the mix of thundering punch and Fred Astaire lightness better than "Woody Herman 1963."
Some of the most thrilling moments in big-band jazz include the shout chorus of "Blues for J.P." and the stop-time moments of "Sister Sadie." This is updated First Herd whallop with hard bop harmonies, and the marriage is a natural one: Woody's band had always been identified with the blues.
There are the dynamic thrills-and-chills of "Sig Ep" and the controlled funk ecstasy of "Mo-Lasses." Wonderful wacky humor mixed with exoticism in "Camel Walk" and the roar of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."
This album displays that at their best there was no better big-band drummer than Jake Hanna, no better rhythm pianist than Nat Pierce, no better tenor soloist than Sal Nistico, and no better lead trumpet sound than Bill Chase's.
There can be different, but not better.

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