Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd: Blues in the Night

Although not as star-studded as many of Herman’s earlier bands, the April 1971 edition heard at this Clearwater, Fla., concert is certainly deserving of attention. Of primary interest are the soloists-tenorman Sal Nistico, trumpeters Bob Agnew, Tony Klatka and Buddy Powers, and trombonists Bobby Burgess and Rick Stepton-who all improvise fluently in the by-then-mainstream Basie-cum-bop mode. The program includes such largely Alan Broadbent-written charts as “Keep on Keepin’,” “Adam’s Apple,” the 14-minute “Blues in the Night,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “Love in Silent Amber,” the almost 17-minute “Variations on a Scene” and the classic “Bijou.” But there are other moments of pleasure as well, such as those found in Herman’s humorous anecdotes about Igor Stravinsky and, as a prelude to another Broadbent piece, a band hanger-on from the Metropole days known as “Sidewalk Stanley.”