Personnel: Woody Herman (vocals, clarinet, alto saxophone); Woody Herman; Herb Sargent, Herb Sargent (guitar); Sam Markowitz (alto saxophone); Stan Getz Five Brothers Bop Tenor Sax Stars , Stan Getz , Zoot Sims (tenor saxophone); Irvin "Marky" Markowitz, Irving Markowitz, Marky Markowitz (trumpet); Rob Swift , Rob Swift , Bill Harris (trombone); Chubby Jackson, Harry Babasin, Walter Yoder (double bass); Don Lamond (drums); Mary Ann McCall (vocals); Jimmy Raney (guitar); Sam Marowitz (alto saxophone); Al Cohn (tenor saxophone); Serge Chaloff (baritone saxophone, bass saxophone); Ernie Royal, Shorty Rogers, Bernie Glow, Stan Fishelson (trumpet); Earl Swope, Ollie Wilson (trombone); Lou Levy, Fred Otis (piano); Terry Gibbs (vibraphone).
Liner Note Authors: Alastair Robertson; Don Lanphere.
Recording information: 02/1948-12/1948.
Photographers: Don Lanphere; Frank Driggs.
Arrangers: Al Cohn; Shorty Rogers.
Woody Herman's Second Herd, which existed from late 1947 through the end of 1949, recorded relatively little due to the Musicians Union recording strike of 1948. Fortunately they were captured on radio broadcasts on a regular basis during 1948. This superior double CD has many of the group's finest radio performances, quite a few of which were put out previously on Hep LPs and sometimes by such labels as Jazz Anthology and First Heard. A much more boppish band than Herman's First Herd, this group (also known as the Four Brothers Band) featured major soloists in tenors Stan Getz (who had the lion's share of the solo space), Zoot Sims, and Al Cohn, baritonist Serge Chaloff, trumpeter Shorty Rogers, and trombonist Earl Swope, with contributions from lead trumpeter Ernie Royal and a rhythm section driven by drummer Don Lamond. In addition, Herman is in fine form on clarinet and alto and Mary Ann McCall takes a few winning vocals (as does the leader). The first 29 selections are from February-March 1948 while the other numbers are from later in the year when such players as trombonist Bill Harris, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, and bassist-cheerleader Chubby Jackson made the band even stronger. The repertoire includes new pieces, boppish remakes of First Herd hits, and a few standards. Unlike the First Herd, the Second Herd was not a financial success and mostly avoided playing any current pop material and dance music. They were not quite as outwardly joyous, at least not until First Herd alumnus Harris and Jackson rejoined the band, but the Second Herd was one of Herman's most innovative orchestras, featuring inventive arrangements by Ralph Burns, Al Cohn, and Shorty Rogers. This two-fer adds a great deal to the legacy of this classic big band. ~ Scott Yanow