Woody Herman

Turning Point

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This LP has a very accurate title for, during 1943-44, Woody Herman was searching for a new sound. His "Band That Plays the Blues" had been decimated by the draft and Herman was in the mood for a change anyway. These 14 selections from his transition year found him welcoming guests from other bands onto his records (including Ben Webster, Juan Tizol and Johnny Hodges from the Duke Ellington Orchestra along with tenormen Georgie Auld and Budd Johnson), going through a brief Ellington phase and then encouraging the gradual emergence of The First Herd. Only five members of Herman's November 1943 orchestra were still with him by the time of the last recording on this set (Dec. 12, 1944). The journey between bands (and the highly enjoyable music that was created along the way) are well worth hearing.