- Four Brothers
- Come Rain or Come Shine
- Theme in Search of a Movie
- What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life
- Sonny Boy
- Greasy Sack Blues
- After Hours
- Take the "A" Train
- Medley: As Time Goes By / Mood Indigo / Blue Flame
- Woody's Whistle
Woody Herman, clarinet and alto sax;
Brian O'Flaherty, Scott Wagstaff, Mark Lewis, Steven Harrell, Bill Stapleton, trumpet and fluegelhorn;
Gene Smith, John Fedchock, Larry Shunk, trombone;
Paul McGinley, Bill Ross, Billy Powers, tenor sax and flute;
Mike Brignola, baritone sax;
John Oddo, electric & acoustic piano;
Mike Hall, electric & acoustic bass;
Dave Ratajczak, drums
This is a representative set of charts from the 1981 Woody Herman Herd. There are several old war-horses mixed in with some of the newer things of the period. the sound is first class and the band has a fine 'presence'.
The set opens with an inevitable Four Brothers to show off the current sax section, who perform in with commendable enthusiasm. Next a Bill Stapleton arrangement of the Harold Arlen standard Come Rain Or Come Shine performed here by Steven Harrell on fluegelhorn. This is followed by pianist John Oddo's original composition Theme In Search Of A Movie with solos by Oddo himself on piano, Harrell again on fluegelhorn and Woody's alto bringing up the rear.
Gene Smith's trombone is featured next, firstly on Ralph Burns' Bijou, whose original version featured Bill Harris; then on Michel Legrand's What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, arranged here by Alan Broadbent. Woody sings the lyrics of the old Al Jolson standard Sonny Boy, Ralph Burns' arrangement also gives space for John Fedchock's trombone. In this version of Don Rader's Greasy Sack Blues, the arrangement is picked half way through with Oddo's piano followed by the bass of Mike Hall; the band then winds on to a screaming climax with the trumpet of Brian O'Flaherty prominent.
Woody then takes time out to reminisce about days gone by, and uses this as an introduction to Nat Pierce's arrangement of Avery Parrish's After Hours which was first heard on Woody's 1971 Fantasy album 'Brand New', and features Oddo's piano.
Most big bands have an arrangement of Billy Strayhorn's Take The A Train in their library. Woody is no exception, although I must confess to not having heard him play it before. This arrangement is presumably the work of John Oddo; it features Harrell on muted trumpet, and the tenor of Paul McGinley. As Time Goes By features Woody and Oddo, then leads into Mood Indigo with Woody again and Hall, in turn this developes into Woody's Blue Flame theme. Dusko Goykovich's composition Woody's Whistle is played as an encore and features Oddo, McGinley, Harrell and Hall.
Taken overall, an excellent set of music from the 1981 Herd on location, with Woody's spoken comments adding to the atmosphere of the occasion.
(Brian Pearse from the original liner notes)