Surfing on a Reed


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In 1947, Jimmy Giuffre wrote and arranged a song called Four Brothers for Woody Herman. The arrangement was designed to showcase the band's new lineup of three tenor saxophones and a baritone saxophone, which was unusual, since most bands featured two altos, two tenors and a baritone. Herman's new band, known as the Second Herd, had its premiere concert in October 1947 and in December the band recorded Four Brothers for Columbia. The Herman saxophonists on the recording were Herbie Steward, Stan Getz and Zoot Sims (ts) and Serge Chaloff (bs).

If you're sax-crazy like me, I have two recordings from the same period featuring great saxophone sections that I think you'll dig:

The first is Four Rich Brothers, a V-Disc by the Buddy Rich Orchestra in October 1948. The band featured Dale Pierce, Charlie Walp and Tommy Allison (tp); Mario Daone, Bob Swope and Bob Ascher (tb); Hal McKusick (as); Jimmy Giuffre, Ben Lary and Warne Marsh (ts); Harvey Lavine (bar); Jerry Schwartz (p); Teddy Kotick (b) and Buddy Rich (d,vcl)...


The second is Oh, Them Saxophones, and it's not by the Chubby Jackson Orchestra, as YouTube states. It's by Gene Roland's Boppers, recorded in May 1949. The band featured Gene Roland (tp,v-tb,p,arr) Danny Blue, Dan Baxter, Jerry Lloyd Hurwitz and Dale Pierce (tp); Al Cohn, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims (ts); Gerry Mulligan (bar); Gene Di Novi (p); Red Kelly (b) and Tiny Kahn (d). The sole common denominator between the two bands was Dale Pierce...


Oh, while I have you, just how insanely gone was Woody Herman's Second Herd? Dig them live in 1948...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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