Credit where it's due
Robert M. Freedman | Gilbert, AZ United States | 10/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine album, displaying Woody solely in the role of vocalist - not his strongest suit, but well worth the price of admission. The presence on the album of true jazz greats such as Harry Edison, Charlie Shavers, Ben Webster and Bill Harris are heavy incentives, too. However, there's a bone to be picked with the label's business folks who are responsible for creating accurate historic jazz documentation. The liner notes and booklet for this CD reissue mistakenly state that on tracks 2, 3, 6-8, and 11, the baritone saxophone is played by "Jack Nimitz or Sol Schlinger". The actual fact is that I, Bob Freedman, am playing bari on those tunes. Probably when credits were being assembled somebody said, "Hey, who played baritone? Nobody wrote his name down." The answer was undoubtedly something like, "Wow, I dunno. Who usually plays it?" The next response might have been, "Well, Schlinger and Nimitz are two of the best around, let's put both names down." And, my friends, that is how history comes to be mis-recorded. No, I am not some kook trying to steal an inch or two of fame in a freebie review. I distinctly remember the date because I was a member of Woody's band at the time, playing - guess what - baritone saxophone. We had a couple of weeks off which I was spending at home in Massachusetts. I got a phone call from the band manager asking if I wanted to come to Manhattan to do a record date with Woody. Of course I agreed and hopped a train the next day. (Sidemen's salaries, especially for unknowns, were very meager, so flying was out of the question.) I got to the studio all revved up and asked where my horn was. Turns out that since this wasn't a full band date (a fact which was not relayed to me on the phone), the bandboy (yes, they really called them that in those days), Red, in whose truck my saxophone was stored, had not been required to attend the session. So there was a panic call placed to Carroll's (instrument rental service) and a semi-playable bari and a mouthpiece to match were delivered. Another call went out to locate Red, who kindly said he'd be there a.s.a.p. Meanwhile we rehearsed under the guidance of arranger Marty Paich. When it came time to record, I asked if we could delay doing certain of the tunes which had some pretty extensive low-register writing for my instrument. I wanted to be sure the horn would be up to the task, and good ol' Red was on his way. Mr Paich responded that they had to record the songs in the order in which they would appear in the album and therefore my request was denied. That's why I remember this album - and my participation on it - so clearly. Well, friends, if anyone cares, you are now in possession of some very rare jazz trivia from the 50's"
Another Side of Woody Herman
William Faust | Columbus, Ohio | 07/28/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Even though I am giving this 3 stars, don't buy this disc if you're looking for great jazz singing. Woody's definitely no Mel Torme or Frank Sinatra and as this all-Woody-vocal album shows, he should definitely be remembered as a great bandleader (OK, maybe not financially...) and great reed man. But on the other hand, he ain't bad. This is much better than the vocal stuff Buddy Rich did for Verve by a long shot. The reason I recommend it is that it features some great tunes by the masters, great arrangements (Marty Paich), a great band (Sweets Edison, Ben Webster, Charlie Shavers etc.) and it's just one more piece of the Woody Herman story that, crooner or no crooner, I think you'll enjoy. I did."