on November 9, 2005
A set of performances (filmed in black and white) on Canadian television, this is Woody Herman at his finest, featuring Nat Pierce, Jake Hannah, Bill Chase, Sal Nistico and other big band heavies. I don't know what was in the Canadian air, but these guys groove with tight fiery swinging arrangements (mainly by Pierce)and a heck of a lot of very fine solo work. I saw the Herman band at about the time of these performances and still remember its vitality and, especially, the solos of Sal Nistico, a post-bobbing swinger of a tenor sax if there ever was one. Herman was a mavel of the US music business, keeping his band alive and well for decades. In terms of production values, the performances were tightly scripted and feature fine camera work and very good sound. One of the best big band dvd's I've seen.
on February 28, 2009
The mellow arrangement of "Days Of Wine And Roses" spotlights the beautiful trumpet solo of Danny Nolan; which is among his finest and most lyrical. The finger-snapping "Sidewalks Of Cuba" showcase a standout trumpet solo by Danny Nolan leading to the bari sax of Nick Brignola, with Woody's always great clarinet closing it out. The smooth tenor of Carmen Leggio is featured in "The Good Earth"
Woody's lyrical alto sax is showcased in the standard "Body And Soul." As is Jackie Stevens' liquid tenor sax in the famous "Early Autumn." Phil Wilson displays his blowing talents in his imaginative solo work on "Lonesome Old Town."
You gotta' love the uptempo charts "That's Where It Is" and "Apple Honey" with Sal Nistico showing off his usual blazing tenor sax.
And what Herman performance wouldn't be complete without "The Four Brothers"? Happy solos by all the saxes. The closer; "Caldonia" at a break-neck tempo, features just about everyone.
Of course, Bill Chase's screeching, stratospheric trumpet is featured throughout, and can't be ignored. As a funny aside to Bill Chase - you'll notice many times during the taping, Bill adjusting his tie while looking at the monitor. Those high-note specialists need to loosen their ties when hitting those octaves; but he also realizes that he must remain uniform with the rest of the band.
No, you can't turn back the hands of time, but looking back at a more subtle
on January 3, 2010
Let's see... Woody Herman with Sal Nistico tenor sax, Jake Hanna drums, Phil Wilson trombone, Bill Chase trumpet, and Nat Pierce on piano and principal arranger. This was a stellar crew! I find it interesting watching a modern big band perform with a non-traditional 4 tenor sax section (Woody played alto and was his bands' featured clarinetist as well) as well as acoustic double bass. And watching Jake Hanna wail in the drum chair is particularly refreshing. Great musicianship, great charts, great band. 5 man reed section and 5 trumpets - the epitome of big band excitement.
on April 11, 2010
Woody Herman's mid-1960s Herds were a momentary revival of the Big Band Era. These Herds were filled with some of the most-talented "kids" that Herman could find, and he led them through some exciting arrangements. I saw this band in 1964 and 1965, and they were terrific. Herman's LP "1964 closely matches this DVD performance, and should be released as a companion CD. Great solos from Phil Wilson, Billy Hunt, Paul Fontaine, Sal Nistico, Nat Pierce, and The Old Man himself.