Although he rarely soloed while a member of Woody Herman's First Herd during 1945-1946, clarinetist John LaPorta treasured his time with Herman's classic band. LaPorta became better known later in the decade for his work with Lennie Tristano and for being one of the first post-swing modern clarinetists. He has since spent decades as an educator but didn't lose his clarinet chops. More than 55 years after his period with Herman, LaPorta recorded I Remember Woody, utilizing a quintet that includes trombonist Greg Nielsen and pianist Charles Prawdzik. Although there are hints of the original recordings, in general LaPorta and his group jam through their way through the 13 songs. All but the closing "JW's World" are from the Herman repertoire, including later versions of the big band. LaPorta, who doubles on tenor, sounds in fine form with the highlights including "Sonny Speaks," "Woodchopper's Ball," "After You've Gone," and "Apple Honey."
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow