Woody Herman (featuring Sonny Berman): Sidewalks of Cuba


Sidewalks of Cuba


Woody Herman


The Essence of Woody Herman (Columbia 57157)

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Woody Herman (clarinet), Sonny Berman (trumpet), Pete Candoli (trumpet), Bill Harris (trombone), John LaPorta (alto sax), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Marjorie Hyams (vibes), Ralph Burns (piano), Billy Bauer (guitar), Chubby Jackson (bass), Dave Tough (drums),

Chuck Frankhouser, Ray Wetzel, Carl Warwick (trumpet); Ralph Pfeffner, Ed Kiefer (trombone); Sam Markowitz (alto sax), Pete Mondello (tenor sax), Skippy DeSair (baritone sax),


Composed by Mitchell Parish, Irving Mills and Ben Oakland. Arranged by Ralph Burns


Recorded: Los Angeles, September 17, 1946


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Sonny Berman was on the road as a jazz trumpeter at age sixteen and dead from a heroin overdose at 22. He worked with many of the Swing Era greats -- Benny Goodman, Harry James and Woody Herman -- but was deeply immersed in the bebop vocabulary, which he played with fluency and dramatic flair. Berman possessed tremendous expressive range on the trumpet, able to belt out big, brassy lines or coo gently with a mute in hand. He starts out his solo on "Sidewalks of Cuba" with a bravura quote from "Flight of the Bumblebee," and proceeds to show off his melodic inventiveness and full-bodied trumpet tone. Had he lived longer, Berman would have been a major figure during the 1950s and after. As it stands, only a handful of recordings testify to his greatness.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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