Woody Herman (featuring Sonny Berman): Your Father's Moustache


Your Father's Moustache


Woody Herman (clarinet, vocals)


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

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Woody Herman (clarinet, vocals), Sonny Berman (trumpet), Bill Harris (trombone), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Red Norvo (vibes), Chubby Jackson (bass), Buddy Rich (drums),

Pete Candoli, Conte Candoli, Neal Hefti, Ray Linn (trumpets), Ralph Pfiffner, Ed Kiefer (trombones), Sam Marowitz, John La Porta (alto saxes), Pete Mondello, Flip Phillips (tenor saxes), Skippy De Sair (baritone sax), Tony Aless (piano), Billy Bauer (guitar)


Composed by Bill Harris & Woody Herman; arranged by Neal Hefti


Recorded: New York, September 5, 1945


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

"Your Father's Moustache" captures Herman's First Herd in full charge, and noticeably emerging out of the band's glorious brass section to nearly steal the track is the promising 21-year-old trumpeter Sonny Berman. After the simmering piano-bass-vibes intro, wailing bursts from the trumpets merge with Herman's bluesy clarinet phrases, and then Berman's blaring fills. Berman takes the first exuberant solo, and proves he is not simply a superficial high-note specialist, as he craftily switches keys midway. After a pungent statement from Bill Harris, and Flip Phillip's purring Prez-like expressions, Norvo's vibes close out the soloing alongside powerful exclamations from the brass. A contrasting interlude now transpires that moves from a "Seven Come Eleven" motif on to a train whistle/locomotive effect. Then silliness ensues, as the band's vocal chorus of "Ah, yer faddah's moustache," is bolstered by Berman's humorous muted squeals. The call-and-response between Chubby Jackson's crudely slapped bass and Buddy Rich's overwrought drums maintains the prevailing lighthearted mood to the very end.

Sonny Berman would die of a drug overdose in 1947, just after the First Herd was disbanded. Ironically, he had begun playing the trumpet only after an older brother, a talented trumpeter, died in a diving accident at age 17. Sonny wanted to have the career that his brother would not experience, but tragically it was never meant to be for either of them.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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