This CD has a pair of broadcasts, the first two Wild Root radio shows by Woody Herman's orchestra, the band later known as the First Herd. The programs include some straight ballad vocals from Frances Wayne and Herman along with some not-so-hip attempts at comedy using bassist Chubby Jackson. However there are also some rousing performances along the way and, even on the straighter tunes, there are generally some colorful solos. Check out Sonny Berman's rather radical trumpet improvisation during an otherwise conventional "On The Atcheson, Topeka And The Santa Fe." With solos also from tenor-saxophonist Flip Phillips, trombonist Bill Harris, vibraphonist Marjorie Hyams and pianist Tony Aless on such tunes as "Apple Honey," "Wild Root," "Gotta Be This Or That" and "Caldonia," the First Herd, one of the finest orchestras of 1945, sounds like a band halfway between swing and bop. This excellent CD adds to its legacy.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow