Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Geller, Herb (Herbert)

Geller, Herb (Herbert), alto, soprano saxes, flutes, clarinet, piano, arranger and composer; b. Los Angeles, CA, 2 November 1928. First inspired by Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges and Willie Smith, then later by Charlie Parker and the pianist Joe Albany, Herb began his professional career at the age of 18 in the orchestras of Joe Venuti and Jimmy Zito. In 1949 he moved to New York City where he played with the orchestras of Claude Thornhill, Lucky Millinder and Jerry Wald.

In 1952 he married the pianist Lorraine Walsh and joined the Billy May orchestra returning to Los Angeles where be became active in the West Coast scene. There he played and recorded with among others: Shorty Rodgers, Maynard Ferguson, Chet Baker, Bill Holman, Marty Paich, Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Red Mitchell, Barney Kessel, Andre Previn and Dinah Washington. He performed with his own quartet including his wife Lorraine and Shelly Manne until her death in 1958. He then worked with Benny Goodman, Louie Bellson and Shelly Manne until 1962 when he departed for Europe, where he settled and eventually remarried.

After five months in Paris performing for the French Radio program "Musique Aux Champs Elysee", he joined the Radio Free Berlin orchestra in West Berlin where he married Christine Rabsch. In 1965 he joined the North German Radio in Hamburg where he still lives. He retired from that orchestra in 1994 and is currently active with his own trio and quartet performing, recording and teaching. In Europe he has performed with the big bands of Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland, Friedrich Gulda's Euro Jazz Orchestra, the Klaus Weiss Band, George Gruntz's band, Peter Herbolzheimer's Rhythm Combination, three albums with the Swedish composer Nils Lindberg, as well as the BBC orchestra, the Holland Metropole Orchestra, many performances with the NDR Jazz Studio Orchestra, and with small groups such as the Bill Evans Trio, Baden Powell and Joe Pass.

He has composed and arranged music for films and TV.

Herb Geller is still active in teaching and has a Professorship status. Among the schools where he has taught are the "Hochschule for Musik und Theater" (Conervatory for performing arts) in Hamburg, the "Hochschule for KYnste" in Bremen and conservatories in Hannover and Rotterdam. He has done seminars for the Yamaha Music Corporation and for "Schott And Sons", for which he wrote a jazz instruction book entitled "Crossover."

 The Herb Geller Sextette (1954); The Gellers (1955); Outpost Incident (1955); Fire In the West (1957); That Gerller Feller (1957); Stax Of Sax (1958); Gypsy (1959); Altosaxophone (1963); An American In Hamburg (1975); Rhyme and Reason: Herb Geller Octet Featuring Mark Murphy & Earl Jordan (1975); Hot House (1984); A Jazz Songbook (1986); V.S.O.P. (1993); Birdland Stomp (1996); Herb Geller Plays (1996); Plays The Al Cohn Songbook (1996); Playing Jazz (1997); You're Looking At Me (1998); I'll be back (1998)
As sideperson:
Various artists: The Best of Chess Jazz (1950); Clifford Brown: Clifford Brown Allstars (1953); Lorraine Geller: Lorraine Geller Memorial (1954); Bill Holman: The Bill Holman Octet (1954); Herbie Fields: Jazz Lab.Vol.9 (1954); Jack Millman: Jazz Lab. Vol 11. (1954); Dinah Washington: Dinah Jams (1955); Benny Goodman: B.G. World Wide (1956); Anita O'Day: Pick Yourself up with Anita O'Day (1956); Chet Baker: Pacific Jazz Years; Don Fagerquist: Music to Fill a Void (1957); John Williams: Here's What I'm Here For (1957); Manny Albam Jazz Lab Vol.12 (1957), Jazz Greats of our time Vol.2.; Benny Goodman: Yale Recordings, Vol. 8 (1957); Jimmy Rowles: Weather In A Jazz Vane (1958); Bill Holman: In a Jazz Orbit (1958); Ella Fitzgerald: The First Lady of Song (1958); The Hi-Lo's: All That Jazz Collectors' Series (1995); Art Pepper: Plus Eleven (1959); Bob Florence And His Orchestra: Name Band (1959); Art Pepper + Eleven: Modern Jazz Classics  (1959); Benny Goodman Orchestra: Santiaga De Chile 1961 (1961); Dinah Washington: Dinah (1962); Americans In Europe - Vol.1 - Impulse (1963); Klaus Weiss Orchestra: I Just Want to celebrate (1971); Clarke - Boland Big Band: Change Of Scenes (1971); The Alpin Power Plant recorded In Switzerland (1972); Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass: Wide Open (1973), Peter Herbolzheimer Masterpieces; Chet Baker: My Funny Valentine (1980), My Favourite Songs Vols. 1 and 2: The Last Great Concert (1988); Benny Carter: Over the Rainbow (1988); Phil Wilson: The Wizard of Oz Suite (1989); Marty Paich: The Picasso of Big Band Jazz (1990); Anita O'Day: Anita O'Day Sings the Winners (1991); Clifford Brown: Compact Jazz: Clifford Brown (1991); Benny Goodman: Yale Recordings, Vols. 1- 6 (1991); Various Artists: RCA Victor Jazz: the First Half- Century (1992), Compact Jazz: Best of the Jazz Vocalists (1992); Chet Baker: The Best of Chet Baker Plays (1992); Qunicy Jones: This Is How I Feel About Jazz (1992); Chet Baker: Grey December (1992); Dinah Washington: Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury, Vol. 3 (1952- 1954) (1992); Anita O'Day: Compact Jazz (1993); Various Artists: The Complete Cole Porter Songbooks (1993); Dinah Washington: First Issue: The Dinah Washington Story (1993); Blue Night Special (Blue Night Special) Milan (1993); Clifford Brown: Jazz Round Midnight (1993); Rolf KYhn: Big Band Connection (1993); Dinah Washington: Jazz 'round Midnight (1993); Jan Lundgren Trio with Herb Geller: Stockholm Get Together (1994); Clifford Brown: Best Coast Jazz (1996); Mel Torme: Mel Torme Collection (1996); Ella Fitzgerald: Love Songs: Best of the Verve Song Books (1996); Clifford Brown: The Ultimate Clifford Brown (1998); Bravissimo II - 50 Years NDR Bigband (1998); Various Artists: Best of the Big Bands: Compact Jazz, Jazz 'round Midnight (Saxophone); Benny Goodman: Swing Swing Swing, Vol. 1- 5; Ralph Pena: Master Of The Bass; John Graas Septet And Nonet Jazz Lab Vol.19; Gene Krupa and his orchestra: That Drummers Band; Shelly Manne & His Men Play Peter Gunn; Shorty Rogers And His Giants: A Portrait Of Shorty; Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse Allstars; Stan Kenton's Small Group: Plays Bob Graetinger: City Of Glass; Klaus Weiss Orchestra: Live At The Domicile; Bill Smith Quintet: Americans In Europe; Barney Kessel And His Orchestra: Barney Kessel Plays Carmen; Nils Gessinger: Ducks 'N' Cookies; Wolfgang SchlYter With The NDR Big Band: Good Vibrations; Inga Rumpf With The NDR Big Band: It's A Man's World

Walter Hein: Blitzlicht. Maynard Ferguson/Herb Geller, in: Jazz Podium (Oct.1956)
J.-R. Masson: Herb Geller parisien, in: Jazz Magazine, 8/81 (1962)
J.-L. Ginibre: Pieges pour Herb, in: Jazz Magazine, #131 (1966)
Giorgio Lombardi: Herb Geller. "I Giovanni Sax? Fanno a chi suono piu note...", in: Musica Jazz (Oct.1992)
Gordon Jack: Herb Geller, part 1, in: Jazz Journal (Sep.1994); part 2, in: Jazz Journal (Oct.1994)
Albrekt von Konow: Jazz gaeller foer Geller, in: Orkester Journalen (Nov.1994)
Ludwig Jurgeit & Waldemar Klimaschewski: Herb Geller. Ansichten und Einsichten von einem, in: Jazz Podium (Oct.1995)

Contact information:
fon +49: (0) 40 56 67 80 
fax +49: (0) 40 560 74 39 
E-mail: herbgeller@aol.com
Mailing address is Julius VosselerStr.

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