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This review is from: Woody Herman: Blue Flame: Portrait of a Jazz Legend (DVD)
I've always loved Woody -- as a singer, a horn player, and as leader of one of the great bands of all time. I was lucky enough to hear his bands several dozen times during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and as a live sound professional, recorded and/or provided the sound system for a half dozen or so performances. One of the things I've always appreciated about Woody is that he was first a great entertainer, and it contributed to him being a great leader. He was also a fine human being and a fine musician. The great strength of this DVD is that it captures those qualities, both with historical audio and video, and with interviews with many who knew him.
Weaknesses of this DVD are the total lack of any captions or other identification of the soloists and section players seen on screen, and the less than stellar musical and sonic quality of the live video that was the anchor of the production (although it was a lot better than the really weak stuff on the same producer's earlier Kenton DVD).
Those wanting to learn more about Woody and his music should look for "Leader of the Band," Gene Lees' excellent biography. To appreciate his music, the two Mosaic sets document his great bands of the 40s and 50s, the Atlantic Monterey Jazz Festival recording (c.a. 1959) is wonderful, and there are many fine CDs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.