Woody Herman: Woodchopper's Ball (1946)


Woodchopper's Ball


Woody Herman (clarinet)


The Thundering Herds, 1945-1947 (Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CK 44108)

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Woody Herman (clarinet), Al Porcino (trumpet), Cappy Lewis (trumpet), Conrad Gozzo (trumpet), Bill Harris (trombone), Sam Marowitz (alto sax), John LaPorta (alto sax), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Chuck Wayne (guitar), Joe Mondragon (bass), Don Lamond (drums),

Chuck Peterson, Bob Peck (trumpet); Ralph Pfeffner, Ed Kiefer (trombone); Mickey Folus (tenor sax), Sam Rubinowitch (baritone sax)


Composed by Joe Bishop & Woody Herman; arranged by Neal Hefti


Recorded: Chicago, December 10, 1946


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Woody Herman's "Woodchopper's Ball" (1939) was a natural hit for the native of Wisconsin, which even today is nearly half forested. Seven years after cutting what would become one of his three Grammy Hall of Fame singles, and two weeks before disbanding his immortal First Herd, Woody harvested a musically superior remake: still a simple blues riff with the same solo order, but now featuring Bill Harris—the Paul Bunyan (or maybe Babe the Blue Ox) of jazz trombone—plus tenorman Phillips, trumpeter Lewis, 12 bars of early Jimmy Rowles, a smoother rhythm section and more climactic ending. Attention choppers!

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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