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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Woody Herman - Light My Fire

Phonogram / Chess Records 6310 127 (UK), 1969 (UK release of Cadet LPS 819 (USA)

Presenting the ever-changing Woody Herman, whose forward-thinking musical mind started working when he inherited the Isham Jones band in the late 1930s, then metamorphosed from "The Band That Plays The Blues" into one of the first big bands to take account of the changes that be bop wrought in the late '40s ("Four Brothers", and others!).  On this wonderful album, in the late '60s,  with a band full of powerhouse players, he acknowledged the music that was capturing the attention of the young audiences around the country.  One of the first bands to play at colleges and universities, the band presented here featured young graduates of the premier musical colleges in the country, such as Berklee School of Music and North Texas State.  Briefly, the selections are: 'Pontieo' (Lobo - Capinan). 'Here I Am, Baby' ('Smokey' Robinson), 'Hard To Keep My Mind On You' (Holmes), ' MacArthur Park (Jim Webb), 'Light My Fire' (The Doors), 'I Say A Little Prayer' (Bacharach - David), 'Hush' (South), 'For Love Of Ivy' (Quincy Jones - Bob Russell), and two originals by the arranger and album producer Richard Evans, 'Impression Of Strayhorn', and ' Keep On Keepin' On'.  Soloists include Woody himself on alto saxophone and clarinet, Sal Nistico and Frank Vicari, tenor saxophones, Nat Pavone, Sal Marquez and Henry Hall, trumpets, Robert Burgess, trombone, and John Hicks, piano.  A real swinger of an album, with a bit of a jazz-rock twist!

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