Of all the big-band leaders of the swing era, Woody Herman went the most out of his way to interpret current material and keep his orchestra young, enthusiastic, and modern. For this Fantasy date, Herman's band not only plays two John Coltrane songs, but material from Frank Zappa ("America Drinks and Goes Home"), Stanley Clarke ("Bass Folk Song"), and even Carole King ("Corazon"). This is one of Herman's most successful efforts of the period, for the arrangements (by Alan Broadbent, Bill Stapleton, and Tony Klatka) are inventive and generally swinging, with such soloists as Frank Tiberi on tenor, flügelhornist Klatka, and electric keyboardist Andy Laverne keeping the music continually interesting. "Blues for Poland," "Lazy Bird," and the Zappa piece are high points.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow