Woody Herman

Woody Live: East and West

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The Woody Herman Herds of the late '60s remained vibrant units, although turnover in personnel was somewhat disruptive. These two sessions recorded live in 1967 (one in San Francisco, the other in New York -- hence the title) miss some of the star quality of earlier years, but there are versions of timeless classics such as "I Remember Clifford," "Cousins," and "The Preacher," plus a short reworking of "Four Brothers" called "Four Brothers Revisited." The first session includes Bill Watrous on trombone, Steve Marcus on tenor sax, and Joe Temperly on bari sax, while the second band has Bill Chase on trumpet and Nat Pierce on piano. The short recording time does not detract from the solid performances of the kind to which Herman fans were accustomed, even if some of the names of players may be unfamiliar. Like other great bandleaders, Herman knew how to bring out the best in his bands. While he did not contribute any of the tunes to this recording, his mark is felt on every composition, and he performs on clarinet and alto saxophone, plus soprano saxophone. This is by no means indispensable Herd music, but it is nonetheless a fine example of where Herman was holding in the late '70s. Admirers of this big-band giant will not be disappointed.

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