Woody Herman & His Orchestra

The V Disc Years, Vols.1-2: 1944-1946

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During and after the Second World War, Woody Herman & His Orchestra recorded regularly for the Armed Forces V-Disc project, providing studio and live musical entertainment for military personnel. In 1994 the Hep record label released a compilation containing 32 of these V-Disc performances dating from 1944-1946. Like many established bandleaders during this time period, Herman drew inspiration from the innovators in modern jazz. Unflinchingly, he mingled swing and bop with rhythm and blues and came out with music that was exciting, entertaining, and ultimately quite popular. Although there are pleasant vocals by Frances Wayne and Martha Raye, the strongest moments on these V-Discs are attributable to Herman's outstanding instrumentalists. They include saxophonists Ben Webster, Flip Philips, and John LaPorta (see Charles Mingus); trombonist Bill Harris; vibraphonists Marjorie Hyams and Red Norvo; pianists Jimmy Rowles and Ralph Burns; bassist Chubby Jackson; drummer Dave Tough; and guitarist Billy Bauer (see Lennie Tristano). The Woody Herman Orchestra served many functions during the 1940s, including public service as an incubator for modern jazz.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:05
2 2:52
3 5:13
4 4:34
5 4:32
6 3:28
7 5:18
8 2:45
9 4:39
10 3:54
12 3:02
13 3:43
14 2:17
15 4:30
16 4:54
17 6:13
blue highlight denotes track pick