The DePaul University Jazz Ensemble with Jeff Hamilton: Salutes Woody Herman

Here’s a big band from college that does the wise thing by going back to a familiar and timeless songbook, but brings the harmonies and rhythms a bit more up to date. For the most part it works, particularly if you’ve never heard these pieces before. (And if you haven’t, please get a boxed set of Herman’s first few Herds, please!). Most of the material here is familiar to those who are fans of Herman’s big bands of the 40s, with hits like “Woodchopper’s Ball” and “Blue Flame” sounding quite well with a new coat of chordal paint. The reeds sound exquisitely fluffy on “Early Autumn,” while lack of four saxes delivering the intro to “Four Brothers” makes you wonder who the fraternal team consists of this time out. Hamilton drives the band with aplomb, and cooking takes of “Apple Honey” and “The Good Earth” will make you want to hit the dance floor. Fun outing!

Jazzed Media Records

Leave a Reply