Personnel: Woody Herman (vocals, alto saxophone, clarinet); Sam Marowitz (alto saxophone); Al Cohn, Sam Donahue, Paul Quinichette (tenor saxophone); Danny Blake (baritone saxophone); Ernie Royal, Al Stewart, Bernie Glow, Nick Travis, Burt Collins, Marky Markowitz, Joe Ferrante (trumpet); Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Byers, Frank Rehak (trombone); Nat Pierce (piano); Billy Bauer (guitar); Chubby Jackson (bass); Don Lamond (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York on July 30 and August 1, 1958. Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff.
This CD contains a better-than-expected reunion of Herman's First Herd. Actually many of the key players from that classic band (such as tenorman Flip Phillips and trombonist Bill Harris) were not on this date while some of the musicians who did participate were Hermanites from a later era or (in the case of trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and tenor-saxophonist Sam Donahue) had never been a part of his bands before. Because the music was generally only a decade old, the results are quite satisfying, with fresh solos and spirited ensembles giving new life to such numbers as "Northwest Passage," "Caldonia" and "Blowin' up a Storm," among others. Certainly Brookmeyer's playing on "Bijou" will not remind anyone of Bill Harris. ~ Scott Yanow