Woody Herman leads an octet on Jackpot!, a 1955 studio recording made for Capitol. The front line includes trumpeters Dick Collins and Johnny Coppola, bass trumpeter Cy Touff, and tenor saxophonist Richie Kamuca, along with the leader's swinging clarinet. Pianist Norman Pockrandt arranged two favorites from Count Basie's repertoire, an easygoing "9:20 Special" and a furious "Jumpin' at the Woodside," in which Kamuca and Touff really wail. Coppola alters the harmony to Milt Jackson's bluesy "Bags' Other Groove" to good effect, while his catchy original "The Boot" borrows the introduction from "52nd Street Theme." Touff, whose instrument could easily be mistaken for a trombone, composed "Wailing Wall," a moving blues with spiritual overtones, though it shifts suddenly into an up-tempo setting with little warning. Long out of print, this highly recommended LP was reissued as a part of the Mosaic limited-edition boxed set The Complete Capitol Recordings of Woody Herman.
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