Personnel includes: Woody Herman (vocals, alto saxophone, clarinet); Ralph Burns (arranger, piano); Herbie Steward (alto & tenor saxophones); Sam Marowitz, John La Porta (alto saxophone); Mickey Folus, Flip Phillips, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone); Sam Rubinwitch, Skippy DeSair (baritone saxophone); Conrad Gozzo, Cappy Lewis, Sonny Berman, Pete Candoli, Chuck Frankhauser, Carl Warwick, Ray Wetzel, Conte Candoli, Neal Hefti, Ray Linn, Sam Berman, Irv Lewis, Shorty Rogers (trumpet); Bill Harris, Ed Kiefer, Ralph Pfiffner (trombone); Margie Hyams, Red Norvo (vibraphone); Jimmy Rowles, Tony Aless (piano); Chuck Wayne, Billy Bauer (guitar); Joe Mondragon, Chubby Jackson (bass); Don Lamond, Dave Tough, Buddy Rich (drums).
Recorded between 1945 and 1947. Includes liner notes by George Kanzler.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Since the definitive three-LP box set Thundering Herds is out-of-print, this single CD is the best place for listeners to go first when starting to explore the music of Woody Herman. There are 16 selections from what was arguably his best band, his First Herd, and two numbers (including the original version of "Four Brothers") by The Second Herd. A few rarities (such as "A Jug of wine" and "The Blues Are Brewing") are mixed in with such classics as "Apple Honey," "Northwest Passage," "Your Father's Mustache" and a new version of "Woodchopper's Ball," but there is unavoidably a lot missing from this single disc, a set which will have to suffice until a more complete reissue series comes along. ~ Scott Yanow