Woody Herman: Ebony Concerto
Woody Herman Orchestra
Blowin' Up A Storm: The Columbia Years 1945-1947 (Columbia/Legacy C2K 65646)
Woody Herman (clarinet), Sonny Berman (trumpet), Cappy Lewis (trumpet), Conrad Gozzo (trumpet), Pete Candoli (trumpet), Shorty Rogers (trumpet), Bill Harris (trombone), John LaPorta (alto sax), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Chuck Wayne (guitar), Joe Mondragon (bass), Don Lamond (drums),
Ralph Pfeffner, Ed Kiefer (trombones); Sam Marowitz (alto sax), Mickey Folus (tenor sax), Sam Rubinowitch (baritone sax), John Cave (French horn), Stanley Chaloupka (harp).
Composed and conducted by Igor Stravinsky.
Recorded: Los Angeles, August 19, 1946
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Emigrating to the U.S. during World War II, the world's foremost composer found himself financially strapped. Grateful for whatever commissions came his way, Igor Stravinsky accepted one from Woody Herman's Herd, renowned for raising musical hell. Stravinsky met this manic opportunity with unexpected restraint. "He wrote the quietest piece he ever wrote in his life," said Herman, disappointed. The elements are characteristically Stravinsky—undercurrents of throbbing, choppy syncopation; a short, keening clarinet/trombone duet urged on by tom-tom and trumpets. His circumspection, however, failed to satisfy the overheated demands of postwar jazz. Too bad. Ebony Concerto is a fascinating, enduring curio.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz