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Woody Herman Orchestra and Special Guests: A Tribute to the Legacy of Woody Herman: 60 Years

This 60-year retrospective tribute is a blockbuster endeavor that lives up to the brilliant Herman heritage. This recording session was the first made by the Frank Tiberi-led orchestra since Herman’s death in 1987, and preceded a sold-out concert in Carnegie Hall during the 1996 JVC New York Jazz Festival.

The Herman flame is kindled to its legendary brilliance throughout 12 tracks, from a splendid ’90s rendition of “Four Brothers” (Tiberi, John Nugent, John Gunther, Mike Brignola) to trombonist John Fedchock’s lyricism on “Laura” and the exciting exuberance of “Woody’s Whistle.” Tiberi himself sears his imprint on “Body and Soul” and “The Good Earth.”

Seven Herd alumni supplement the band. Trumpeter Pete Candoli’s contagious energy fuels “Woodchopper’s Ball,” and Frank Foster’s tenor enriches “Make Someone Happy.” Trombonist Urbie Green adds elegance to “Bijou,” trumpeter Tom Harrell’s solo work is stunning on “Sail Away,” and Alan Broadbent’s piano is gorgeous on “Woody ‘n You.” It’s fast and fun all the way when vibraphonist Terry Gibbs and clarinetist Buddy DeFranco bebop (and Gibbs scats) through “Lemon Drop.”

But this session is really about the band, as strong and solid and swinging as ever. The Thundering Herd definitely lives up to its legendary legacy.

Originally Published