Herman in 1943
|Birth name||Woodrow Charles Herman|
|Born||May 16, 1913|
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||October 29, 1987 74) (aged|
West Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Associated acts||Isham Jones|
Woodrow Charles Herman (May 16, 1913 – October 29, 1987) was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, singer, and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd", Herman came to prominence in the late 1930s and was active until his death in 1987. His bands often played music that was cutting edge and experimental for its time; they received numerous Grammy nominations and awards.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
A big band is a type of musical ensemble of jazz music that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated jazz in the early 1940s when swing was most popular. The term "big band" is also used to describe a genre of music, although this was not the only style of music played by big bands.
A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.
Herman was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 16, 1913.His parents were Otto and Myrtle (Bartoszewicz) Herman. His mother was Polish. His father had a deep love for show business and this influenced Woody Herman at an early age. As a child he worked as a singer and tap-dancer in Vaudeville, then started to play the clarinet and saxophone by age 12. In 1931, he met Charlotte Neste, an aspiring actress; they married on September 27, 1936. Woody Herman joined the Tom Gerun band and his first recorded vocals were "Lonesome Me" and "My Heart's at Ease". Herman also performed with the Harry Sosnick orchestra, Gus Arnheim and Isham Jones. Isham Jones wrote many popular songs, including "It Had to Be You" and at some point was tiring of the demands of leading a band. Jones wanted to live off the residuals of his songs; Woody Herman saw the chance to lead his former band, and eventually acquired the remains of the orchestra after Jones' retirement.
Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The seat of the eponymous county, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Ranked by its estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States. The city's estimated population in 2017 was 595,351. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area which had a population of 2,043,904 in the 2014 census estimate. It is the third-most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago and Detroit, respectively. Milwaukee is considered a Gamma global city as categorized by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network with a regional GDP of over $105 billion.
Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.
Gus Arnheim was an American pianist and an early popular band leader. He is noted for writing several songs with his first hit being "I Cried for You" from 1923. He was most popular in the 1920s and 1930s. He also had a few small acting roles.
Woody Herman's first band became known for its orchestrations of the blues, and was sometimes billed as "The Band That Plays The Blues". This band recorded for the Decca label, at first serving as a cover band, doing songs by other Decca artists.The first song recorded was "Wintertime Dreams" on November 6, 1936. In January 1937 George T. Simon closed a review of the band with the words: "This Herman outfit bears watching; not only because it's fun listening to in its present stages, but also because it's bound to reach even greater stages." After two and a half years on the label, the band had its first hit, "Woodchopper's Ball" recorded in 1939. Woody Herman remembered that "Woodchopper's Ball" started out slowly at first. "[I]t was really a sleeper. But Decca kept re-releasing it, and over a period of three or four years it became a hit. Eventually it sold more than five million copies—the biggest hit I ever had." In January 1942, Herman would have his highest rated single (#1 in the Billboard charts ), singing Harold Arlen's "Blues in the Night" backed by his orchestra. Other hits for the band include "Blue Flame" and "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me". Musicians and arrangers that stood out included Cappy Lewis on trumpet and saxophonist/arranger Deane Kincaide. "The Golden Wedding" (1941), arranged by James "Jiggs" Noble, was notable for its extended (34 bars) drum solo by Frankie Carlson.
Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African-Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.
Decca Records is a British major record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934 by Lewis, along with American Decca's first president Jack Kapp and later American Decca president Milton Rackmil. In 1937, anticipating Nazi aggression leading to World War II, Lewis sold American Decca and the link between the UK and U.S. Decca labels was broken for several decades. The British label was renowned for its development of recording methods, while the American company developed the concept of cast albums in the musical genre. Both wings are now part of the Universal Music Group, which is owned by Vivendi, a media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, France. The US Decca label was the foundation company that evolved into UMG.
"Woodchopper's Ball", also known as "At the Woodchopper's Ball" is a 1939 jazz composition by Joe Bishop and Woody Herman. The up-tempo blues tune in D-flat major was the Woody Herman Orchestra's biggest hit, as well as the most popular composition of either composer, selling a million records.
In jazz, swing was gradually being replaced by bebop. Dizzy Gillespie, a trumpeter and one of the originators of bop, wrote three arrangements for Woody Herman, "Woody'n You", "Swing Shift" and "Down Under". These were arranged in 1942."Woody'n You" was not used at the time. "Down Under" was recorded July 24, 1942. The fact that Herman commissioned Gillespie to write arrangements for the band and that Herman hired Ralph Burns as a staff arranger, heralded a change in the style of music the band was playing.
Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early to mid-1940s in the United States, which features songs characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody.
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer.
"Woody 'n' You", originally "Woody'n You", pronounced "Wouldn'[t] you," and occasionally named "Algo bueno", is a 1942 jazz standard written by Dizzy Gillespie as an homage to Woody Herman. It was one of three arrangements Gillespie made for Herman's big band, although it was not used at the time; the other two were "Swing Shift" and "Down Under". It was introduced on record in 1944 by Coleman Hawkins initiated by Budd Johnson, Hawkins' musical director of his 12-man orchestra that included the bebop pioneers Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach and Gillespie.
In February 1945, the band started a contract with Columbia Records.Herman liked what drew many artists to Columbia, Liederkranz Hall, at the time the best recording venue in New York City. The first side Herman recorded was "Laura", the theme song of the 1944 movie of the same name. Herman's version was so successful that it made Columbia hold from release the arrangement that Harry James had recorded days earlier. The Columbia contract coincided with a change in the band's repertoire. The 1944 group, which he called the First Herd, was famous for its progressive jazz. The First Herd's music was heavily influenced by Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Its lively, swinging arrangements, combining bop themes with swing rhythm parts, were greatly admired. As of February 1945 the personnel included Bill Harris, Sonny Berman, Pete Candoli, Billy Bauer (later replaced by Chuck Wayne), Ralph Burns, Davey Tough and Flip Phillips. On February 26, 1945 in New York City, the Woody Herman band recorded "Caldonia".
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
Harry Haag James was an American musician who is best known as a trumpet-playing band leader who led a big band from 1939 to 1946. He broke up his band for a short period in 1947 but shortly after he reorganized and was active again with his band from then until his death in 1983. He was especially known among musicians for his technical proficiency as well as his tone, and was influential on new trumpet players from the late 1930s into the 1940s. He was also an actor in a number of films that usually featured his band.
Cool jazz is a style of modern jazz music that arose in the United States after World War II. It is characterized by relaxed tempos and lighter tone, in contrast to the fast and complex bebop style. Cool jazz often employs formal arrangements and incorporates elements of classical music. Broadly, the genre refers to a number of post-war jazz styles employing a more subdued approach than that found in other contemporaneous jazz idioms. As Paul Tanner, Maurice Gerow, and David Megill suggest "the tonal sonorities of these conservative players could be compared to pastel colors, while the solos of [Dizzy] Gillespie and his followers could be compared to fiery red colors."
Neal Hefti and Ralph Burns collaborated on the arrangement of "Caldonia" that the Herman band used."Ralph caught Louis Jordan [singing "Caldonia"] in an act and wrote the opening twelve bars and the eight bar tag." "But the most amazing thing on the record was a soaring eight bar passage by trumpets near the end." These eight measures have wrongly been attributed to a Gillespie solo, but were in fact originally written by Neal Hefti. George T. Simon compares Hefti with Gillespie in a 1944 review for Metronome magazine saying, "Like Dizzy [...], Hefti has an abundance of good ideas, with which he has aided Ralph Burns immensely".
Neal Paul Hefti was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and arranger. He wrote music for The Odd Couple movie and TV series and for the Batman TV series.
Louis Thomas Jordan was an American musician, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", his highest profile came towards the end of the swing era.
In 1946 the band won Down Beat , Metronome , Billboard and Esquire polls for best band, nominated by their peers in the big band business.Along with the high acclaim for their jazz and blues performances, classical composer Igor Stravinsky wrote the Ebony Concerto , one in a series of compositions commissioned by Herman with solo clarinet, for this band. Herman recorded this work in the Belock Recording Studio in Bayside New York.
Throughout the history of jazz, there have always been musicians who sought to combine it with classical music.Ebony Concerto is one in a long line of music from the twenties to the present day that seeks to do this. Herman said about the Concerto: "[The Ebony Concerto is a] very delicate and a very sad piece." Stravinsky felt that the jazz musicians would have a hard time with the various time signatures. Saxophonist Flip Philips said, "During the rehearsal [...] there was a passage I had to play there and I was playing it soft, and Stravinsky said 'Play it, here I am!' and I blew it louder and he threw me a kiss!" In his own original way Stravinsky noticed the massive amount of smoking at the recording session: "the atmosphere looked like Pernod clouded by water." Ebony Concerto was performed live by the Herman band on March 25, 1946 at Carnegie Hall.
Despite the Carnegie Hall success and other triumphs, Herman was forced to disband the orchestra in 1946 at the height of its success. This was his only financially successful band; he left it to spend more time with his wife and family. During this time, he and his family had just moved into the former Hollywood home of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. One reason Herman may have disbanded was his wife Charlotte's growing problems with alcoholism and pill addiction. Charlotte Herman joined Alcoholics Anonymous and gave up everything she was addicted to. Woody said, laughing, "I went to an AA meeting with Charlotte and my old band was sitting there."Many critics cite December 1946 as the actual date the big-band era ended, when seven other bands, in addition to Herman's, dissolved.
In 1947, Herman organized the Second Herd. This band was also known as "The Four Brothers Band". This derives from the song recorded December 27, 1947, for Columbia records, "Four Brothers", written by Jimmy Giuffre,featuring the saxophone section of Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Herbie Steward, and Stan Getz. Some of the notable musicians of this band were also Al Cohn, Gene Ammons, Lou Levy, Oscar Pettiford, Terry Gibbs, and Shelly Manne. Among this band's hits were "Early Autumn", and "The Goof and I". The band was popular enough that they went to Hollywood in the mid-nineteen forties. Herman and his band appear in the movie New Orleans in 1947 with Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.
In 1947, Herman was Emcee and also played at the third Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles which was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on September 7, 1947. The Valdez Orchestra, The Blenders, T-Bone Walker, Slim Gaillard, The Honeydrippers, Johnny Otis and his Orchestra, Sarah Vaughn and the Three Blazers also performed that same day.
Herman's other bands include the Third Herd (1950–56) and various later editions during the 1960s.In the 1950s, the Third Herd went on a successful European tour. He was known for hiring the best young musicians and using their arrangements. In the early and mid 1960s, Herman gained a wider recognition by fronting one of the most exciting Herds to date that featured future stellar names like Michael Moore, drummer Jake Hanna, tenor saxophonist Sal Nistico, trombonists Phil Wilson and Henry Southall and trumpeters like Bill Chase, Paul Fontaine and Dusko Goykovitch. By 1968, the Herman library came to be heavily influenced by rock and roll. He was also known to feature brass and woodwind instruments not traditionally associated with jazz, such as the bassoon, oboe or French horn.
In the early 1970s he toured frequently and began to work more in jazz education, offering workshops and taking on younger sidemen. For this reason he got the nickname Road Father and the bands were known as the "Young Thundering Herds."In January 1973, Herman was one of the featured halftime performers at Super Bowl VII. In 1974, Woody Herman's band appeared without their leader for Frank Sinatra's television special The Main Event and subsequent album, The Main Event – Live . Both were recorded mainly on October 13, 1974, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. On November 20, 1976, a reconstituted Woody Herman band played at Carnegie Hall in New York City, celebrating Herman's fortieth anniversary as a bandleader. By the 1980s, Herman had returned to more straight-ahead jazz, but augmented with some of the newer rock and fusion approaches. Herman signed a recording contract with Concord Records around 1980, now called the Concord Music Group. In 1981, John S. Wilson warmly reviewed one of Herman's first Concord recordings "Woody Herman Presents a Concord Jam, Vol. I". Wilson's review says that the recording presents a band that is less frenetic than his bands from the forties to the seventies. Instead it takes the listener back to the relaxed style of Herman's first band of the thirties that recorded for Decca.
Herman continued to perform into the 1980s, after the death of his wife and with his health in decline, chiefly to pay back taxes that were owed because of his business manager's bookkeeping in the 1960s.Herman owed the IRS millions of dollars and was in danger of eviction from his home. With this added stress, Herman still kept performing. In a December 5, 1985, review of the band at the Blue Note jazz club for The New York Times, John S. Wilson pointed out: "In a one-hour set, Mr. Herman is able to show off his latest batch of young stars—the baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola, the bassist Bill Moring, the pianist Brad Williams, the trumpeter Ron Stout—and to remind listeners that one of his own basic charms is the dry humor with which he shouts the blues." Wilson also spoke about arrangements by Bill Holman and John Fedchock for special attention. Wilson spoke of the continuing influence of Duke Ellington on Woody Herman bands from the nineteen forties to the nineteen eighties. Before Woody Herman died in 1987 he delegated most of his duties to leader of the reed section, Frank Tiberi. Tiberi leads the current version of the Woody Herman orchestra. Tiberi said at the time of Herman's death that he would not change the band's repertoire or library. Herman had a Catholic funeral on November 2, 1987, at St. Victor's in West Hollywood, California. He is interred in a niche in the columbarium behind the Cathedral Mausoleum in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Awards won by the various Woody Herman orchestras with major publications: "Voted best swing band in 1945 Down Beat poll; Silver Award by critics in 1946 and 1947 Esquire polls; won Metronome poll, band division, 1946 and 1953.
A documentary film titled Woody Herman: Blue Flame- Portrait of a Jazz Legend was released on DVD in late 2012 by the jazz documentary filmmaker Graham Carter, owner of Jazzed Media, to salute Herman and his centenary in May 2013.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Woody Herman among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.
(Songs that reached the top of the US or UK charts)
Between 1937 and 1956, Woody Herman had numerous hits on Billboard's charts.
|year||Title||Chart peak position|
|1937||I Double Dare You||18|
|1939||At the Woodchopper's Ball||9|
|1941||There I Go||13|
|1941||The Golden Wedding||23|
|1941||G'bye Now (sung by Muriel Lane)||10|
|1941||By-U By-O (sung by Muriel Lane)||20|
|1942||Blues in the Night (sung by Woody Herman)||1|
|1943||Four or Five Times||17|
|1944||Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me||7||4|
|1944||The Music Stopped (sung by Frances Wayne)||10|
|1944||By the River of the Roses||12|
|1944||Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet||10|
|1944||Let Me Love You Tonight (sung by Billie Rogers)||18|
|1945||Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night in the Week) (sung by Frances Wayne)||18|
|1945||A Kiss Goodnight||9|
|1946||Gee, It's Good to Hold You (sung by Frances Wayne)||17|
|1946||Everybody Knew but Me||11|
|1946||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!||7|
|1947||Across the Alley from the Alamo||12|
|1947||That's My Desire (Woody Herman & the Four Chips)||13|
|1948||Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)||15|
|1955||Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing||79|
|1956||I Don't Want Nobody (To Have My Love but You)||75|
(Albums charting history with Billboard Magazine)
year end #
|Peak, US||Year end|
|1963||Encore: Woody Herman – 1963||136 (Aug.|
|1964||Woody Herman: 1964||148 (March|
Grammy Awards (albums)
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1963||Encore: Woody Herman, 1963||Best Performance by an orchestra – for dancing||Nominated|
|Best Jazz Performance – Large Group (Instrumental)||Won|
|1964||Woody Herman '64||Nominated|
|1967||Woody Live – East And West||Nominated|
|1968||Concerto For Herd||Nominated|
|1969||Light My Fire||Nominated|
|1977||The 40th Anniversary, Carnegie Hall Concert||Nominated|
|1982||Live At The Concord Jazz Festival 1981||Nominated|
|1986||50th Anniversary Tour||Nominated|
|1987||Woody's Gold Star||Nominated|
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1987||Woody Herman||Lifetime Achievement Award||Inducted|
Harry "Sweets" Edison was an American jazz trumpeter and a member of the Count Basie Orchestra.
Carl Charles Fontana was an American jazz trombonist. After working in the big bands of Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, and Stan Kenton, he devoted most of his career to playing music in Las Vegas.
Urban Clifford "Urbie" Green was an American jazz trombonist who toured with Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, Jan Savitt, and Frankie Carle.
Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens was an English conductor and composer.
Horace Steadman "Steady" Nelson (1913—1988), born in Jefferson, Texas, was a 20th-century American musician who specialized in Jazz and Swing during the Big Band era. He recorded over 60 sessions on trumpet and vocals with Woody Herman, Hal McIntyre, the Casa Loma Orchestra, Horace Hiedt, the NBC Radio orchestra and others. Nelson's most important works are his instrumental lead in "Woodchopper's Ball" and two solo vocal recordings with Woody Herman's band : "I’m Comin’ Virginia", and "Rosetta". Nelson has been declared a Texas Music Pioneer by the Texas Music Office, a division of the Office of the Governor of Texas.
The Count Basie Orchestra is a 16 to 18 piece big band, one of the most prominent jazz performing groups of the swing era, founded by Count Basie in 1935 and recording regularly from 1936. Despite a brief disbandment at the beginning of the 1950s, the band survived long past the Big Band era itself and the death of Basie in 1984. It continues as a 'ghost band'.
Kenneth Lee Ascher is an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger who is active in jazz, rock, classical, and musical theater genres — in live venues, recording studios, and cinema production. With Paul Williams, he wrote the song "Rainbow Connection" for The Muppet Movie. Both Williams and Ascher received Oscar nominations for the 1979 Academy Awards for Best Original Song and Best Original Score. The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for "Best Original Song" that same year.
Salvatore Nistico was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.
This is the discography of Duke Ellington. Most of these recordings are listed by the year they were recorded rather than year released. Reissues are listed for most of the recordings released before the 1950s, as the original 78s are rare. The US chart listing information should be considered tentative because sources like the Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories does not take the cheaper dime-store records into account. During this period, records sold by song title, not by artist, although there are exceptions.
Frances Wayne was an American jazz vocalist. She was best known for her recording of ''Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe."
Donald Douglas Lamond, Jr. was an American jazz drummer.
Jack Nimitz was an American jazz baritone saxophonist. He was nicknamed "The Admiral".
Willis Leonard Holman, better known as Bill Holman, is an American composer/arranger, conductor, saxophonist, and songwriter working primarily in the jazz and pop idioms. His professional music career is over six decades long, most notably starting with the Charlie Barnet orchestra in 1950. He is a multi-Grammy winning artist and is most commonly known for his long association with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. He was honored as a 2010 National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters recipient.
Irvin "Marky" Markowitz was an American jazz trumpeter.
Roger O'Neal Ingram is a jazz trumpeter, educator, author, and instrument designer. He played trumpet for the orchestras of Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles, and Harry Connick Jr.
Igor Stravinsky wrote the Ebony Concerto in 1945 for the Woody Herman band known as the First Herd. It is one in a series of compositions commissioned by the bandleader/clarinetist featuring solo clarinet, and the score is dedicated to him. It was first performed on March 25, 1946 in Carnegie Hall in New York City, by Woody Herman's Band, conducted by Walter Hendl.
Owen Joseph "Sonny" Igoe was an American jazz drummer and music educator who, toured with the orchestras of Tommy Reed (1913–2012), Les Elgart, Ina Ray Hutton, Benny Goodman, and Woody Herman from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s.
John Oddo was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. He is most notably associated as pianist and musical director for Woody Herman, Rosemary Clooney and Michael Feinstein.