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Crate Digger’s Gold: Woody Herman Band – Chick, Donald, Walter & Woodrow

March 15, 2012

Woody Herman was one of the great big band leaders of the big band era.  He survived into the 80’s – so he was one of the last.  I am not very knowledgeable about him or his history.  This is my first Woody Herman album.  I picked it up the other night at the Electric Fetus.  I was rolling through the used vinyl jazz section and stopped cold on this one.  It had sticker with a hand written note on the plastic sleeve that read: Woody Herman Band. 1978!  Had no idea Woody took it this far out.  Deeper “chamber” jazz arrangements and Steely Dan covers!

Well that caught my attention.  It brought a sentimental memory of late 70s when I used to crate dig.  One place was Northern Lights in St. Paul – my buddy Jay (RIP) used to write notes like this on new releases.  Jay was a real taste-maker.  I pulled out the album and looked it over.  Now this was cool – a special commissioned “Suite for a Hot Band” composed and arranged by Chick Corea on side one and Steely Dan covers on side two. Well it looked in good condition (it really was) and it was only $4.

Well I have listened to it several times and it is great.  The Chick Corea suite is fantastic.  Great songs, great arrangements and great musicianship.  Imagine late 70’s Return to Forever played by an amazing big band.  The Steely Dan covers play it pretty straight.  The covers remind you of what great songwriters Fagen and Becker are and how jazzy their music really is.

If you see this in used record bin – grab it quick.  When I was researching this record I noticed used copies are going from $15 to $30 on-line – so I feel like I got a real gem at 4 bucks!.

Another bonus is that it has great album art.  A Chevy convertible drifting a top the clouds with 4 penguins (representing the 4 cool birds responsible for this record).

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2 Comments
  1. I love gems like this.

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