Woody Herman-1963 Swingin'est Big Band Ever (25th Year-His Greatest) Original recording remastered
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Basie's New Testament high point had passed. Ellington had reached his latter-day summit and had begun the inconsistent on-and-off pattern that would haunt his band for the rest of his life. Terry Gibbs's dreamy Dream Band was no more. Kenton was all over the map looking for an identity.
But Woody Herman's band never sounded better. No recording captures the mix of thundering punch and Fred Astaire lightness better than "Woody Herman 1963."
Some of the most thrilling moments in big-band jazz include the shout chorus of "Blues for J.P." and the stop-time moments of "Sister Sadie." This is updated First Herd whallop with hard bop harmonies, and the marriage is a natural one: Woody's band had always been identified with the blues.
There are the dynamic thrills-and-chills of "Sig Ep" and the controlled funk ecstasy of "Mo-Lasses." Wonderful wacky humor mixed with exoticism in "Camel Walk" and the roar of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."
This album displays that at their best there was no better big-band drummer than Jake Hanna, no better rhythm pianist than Nat Pierce, no better tenor soloist than Sal Nistico, and no better lead trumpet sound than Bill Chase's.
There can be different, but not better.
There was no better bandleader than Woody Herman.
Listen how Chase and Hanna "lock in" and push the band to levels of intensity beyond comparison. Bill Chase, the greatest "lead trumpet player" in history as far as I'm concerned, had a "spin" on his sound that sepertaed him from everybody else (not to take away from Gozzo, Porcino, Audino, etc) but Chase really packs a punch. He later did the same with his own early '70's jazz-rock group called 'Chase.'
Music buddies of mine who got to know this Herman band well told me that other big bands of the time were scared of this particular Herman band...nobody could compete with them for swingin' so hard.
It took coulmbia forever to release the 'Woody's Winner's' LP on CD and I'm glad to see this Phillips recording out on cd, they need to put the Encore '63 Live album out next.
And something indefinable must have been added by The Old Man too, because this is not merely a collection of great soloists. They really, really swing hard. Beautiful ensemble playing at all dynamic levels--and there are many--which gave this Herd the strength of an army.
I listened to this in my car on the way home from work yesterday, and by the time the CD got to "Sig Ep" (talk about Woody's knack for just the right tempo) I was dancing in my seat. Buy this, children, and you will learn some more of what a great band can do -- even if you've already had lessons from the Count and the Duke.
Woody Herman won Grammy Awards in 1963 and 1964 for best Big Band Jazz albums of the year and I can understand why! Tenor sax man Sal Nistico is fabulous on the entire CD. Woody's clarinet work is effective, and it relects a time when Woody could still cut loose, before he compromised himself on the soprono sax in his later years. The arrangements are very well-written. I have the original LP and this CD is a great addition to any serious collector's library. If you can get your hands on anything in this time period, it's worth the purchase price!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my favorite album of my favorite of Herman's Herds. The stand-up Herd. Chase, Nistico and co. really swing, and cook on numbers like Sister Sadie. Read morePublished 11 months ago by C. M. Freeman
The balls-to-the-wall punch of this particular group made them one of the finest ensembles in jazz history. The first time I heard them, it scared me to death. Read morePublished 17 months ago by P. Evans
Wow, where do I start? As a trombonist, this was my first exposure to Phil Wilson on record. Love the coming out of nowhere intro to his solo on "Camel Walk. Read morePublished on September 3, 2009 by Mark A. Geisler
If you define renaissance as " a revival of intellectual or artistic achievement and vigor", then this CD release qualifies. Read morePublished on December 1, 2006 by R. Viehdorfer
Respecfully I submit that this is the worst of the late Whimpering Heap.
It should not have been released. Read more
Classic jazz album from 1963 has the distinction of featuring the high wailing trumpeter Bill Chase, who went on to form the rock group, Chase in the 1970's, ("Get It On"), and who... Read morePublished on December 3, 2005 by Guy De Federicis