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 Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-01-16 01:09

Woody Herman was far better known as a band leader than as a clarinetist. Yet he had good technique; lovely phrasing. I've been told he used a Penzel-Müller (spelling?) clarinet, which I imagine had a very large bore.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-01-16 21:16

Woody premiered Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto. It's been played since by everybody, but Woody's original interpretation is still my favorite. I believe he never had occasion to play it again.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2021-01-17 03:23

Wow- just found the Woody version of the Ebony Concerto on YouTube. I can't believe I've never heard it before. It makes all the other versions I've heard sound like cheap imitations. This recording is raw, meaty, dark and very descriptive. Thanks again Ruben, for pointing me towards some great music!

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 Re: Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2021-01-17 03:55

I have always wanted to like Woody...and there are some tunes where I've enjoyed him, but for some reason (that I can't put my finger on), I usually am mentally tuned out before his songs reach an end.

I like his technical abilities. I like a lot of his ideas. I like his phrasing. I'm not totally put off by his sound...Yet still, wrap them all up into an overall, and I find myself tuned out. I don't understand why.

Thanks for bringing him into discussion so that I could give him another listen - sometimes time changes things (not this time, but maybe next!)

Fuzzy
;^)>>>

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 Re: Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-01-17 05:21

Woody was best in bluesy, folkish melodic music such as his duet with singer Mary
Ann McColl in "Swing Low Sweet Clarinet":

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=woody+herman+swing+low+sweet+clarinet.

Or in a "low down" blues like "The Garbage Man Blues" with Freddie Hubbard and Phil Woods: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=woody+herman+Garbage+Man+Blues.

Trumpeter Pete Condoli recalls the difficulties the Herman band had in playing the Ebony Concerto in this interview (in the section beginning at 38:44):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx-EX-bL22c



Post Edited (2021-01-17 05:54)

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 Re: Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-01-17 16:27

Fuzzy: Woody Herman was never at the top of the list in the Downbeat magazine polls (for his clarinet playing). I don't know who his influences were (Barney Bigard?) His alto sax playing was pure Johnny Hodges.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-01-17 16:29

Seabreeze: Do you know what brand of clarinet he played? I've been told it was a Penzel-Müller.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Woody Herman as a jazz clarinetist
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-01-17 21:56

In some photos from the 1940s, Herman is holding a Selmer clarinet. The Smithsonian has a Leblanc clarinet they say was "associated with Woody Herman" and "made in the 1950s" that bears Herman's name on the bell. In 1976, Leblanc ran a nationwide ad thanking Herman for making "the Leblanc clarinet and Vito soprano sax a part of your life on the road with the herd." I've never seen anything about which models he preferred or which he used on any individual recordings. He had a very long career and probably switched models as time passed. His early influences were pretty clearly Jimmy Noone and Barney Bigard.

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