When I go vinyl hunting there are two words which usually trigger a second look. Thy are "rare" and "live". This album had both screaming out at me so I caved in and bought it. Actually there was something vaguely familiar about it. Hadn't seen this particular album before, but recalled seeing a similar one on Amazon with Nat King Cole on the cover. Checked it out and sure enough there was a disc with the same generic name (Jazz Live & Rare) featuring his trio recordings 1943/49. Poked around for some more and found a Count Basie and Duke Ellington from the same series on other sites, but no Woody Herman. Concluded from this that I did have a fairly rare copy of a fairly rare series produced in Germany sometime in the early '80s for the Delta Music Co.
So far so good. But what of its contents. Well, a scan down the track titles and you'll see they all originate from either the First or Second Herds, that is 1945 -1947. (Had most of these numbers in my late teen years on 78 RPM Parlophone discs. So it's a memory lane thing for me.) But according to the front cover, these are "historical radio recordings" allegedly made in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles on the dates given. Have to accept their word for that although acoustically why do they all sound so similar -- and "live"?
Not very convinced about these two claims, but performance-wise it's great. Had to be of course with Sonny Berman, Ralph Burns, Pete Candoli, Billy Bauer, Flip Phillips, Bill Harris, Chubby Jackson and Dave Tough etc in the lineup for the First Herd and stars like Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff and Al Cohn (Four Brothers) all contributing to the amazing sound of the Second Herd.
So am I pleased with my purchase? Sure I am. Worth it just to hear those Bill Harris and Flip Phillips and Pete Candoli solos again. Wish it included "Caldonia" and Ralph Burns' "Summer Sequence" though.
01) Apple Honey
02) Goosey Gander
03) The Good Earth
05) Your Father's Mustache
06) Steps [Woody Herman Woodchoppers]
01) Someday Sweetheart [Woodchoppers]
02) Sidewalks of Cuba
03) Woodchopper's Ball
04) Four Brothers
05) The Goof And I