JazzSnap: Woody Herman ('48) - JazzWax

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April 21, 2011


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Bruce Armstrong

Seeing that Columbia label on the 78 record brought back some of my earliest boyhood memories of watching my late father stack the 78s on the record player to listen to the “sounds.” He was a big Woody Herman fan and had all the “hits” like “Apple Honey,” “Northwest Passage,” “Early Autumn,” etc. I remember him playing Woody’s vocal on “I’ve Got The World On A String” and making sure I heard the great saxophone section writing (by Ralph Burns) . My dad had been a promising young tenor player in the New York City area right before WWII, but when the war came he became a Navy carrier pilot and his dream of playing professionally pretty much ended. Marc, thanks for the memories!

allan n

Don Lamond was a great swinging big band drummer.

T.K. Tortch

I'm guessing that clarinet and alto sitting a bit off to the left in front of the drummer are Herman's. I wasn't aware that he would double on sax in concert (or at all, really), but I don't know too much about Herman himself. Most of what I know is from being into Cohn, Sims and Chaloff (and I had forgotten that Shorty Rogers played for him).


Yeah, while Woody's greatest talent was talent management (especially challenging in those days), he would occasionally pick up the alto or soprano in addition to clarinet and vocals. All you blues guitar fans should check out Woody trading licks with Mike Bloomfield on "Hitch Hike on the Possum Trot Line" (on the "Brand New" album.)

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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