Buddy Rich: Norwegian Wood


Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)


Buddy Rich (drums)


Big Swing Face (Blue Note 27989)

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Buddy Rich (drums),

Bobby Shew, Charles Findley, John Scottile, Yoshito Murakami (trumpets), Jim Trimble, Ron Myers, Bill Wimberly (trombones), Ernie Watts, Quin Davis (alto saxes), Jay Corre, Robert Keller (tenor saxes), Marty Flax (baritone sax), Ray Starling (piano), Richard Resnicoff (guitar), James Gannon (bass)


Composed by Lennon/McCartney; arranged by Bill Holman


Recorded: Hollywood, CA, February 22-March 10, 1967


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Though the power and audacity of Bill Holman's arrangement contrasts with the light folksiness of John Lennon's original, there are also elements in common. The booming low brass pedal notes recall the drone of George Harrison's sitar, and the harmonic movement and melodic content is charmingly minimal. Like the Beatles' version, Holman's arrangement is focused on shifting texture and overlaying counterpoint, only on a more massive scale. The energy peaks on the final bridge (replete with Jim Trimble's trombone freak-out) and the last fortissimo unison verse backed by screaming trumpet shakes, multiple contrapuntal lines and Rich's ferocious drumming. Just when your ears are about to explode, everything drops out and guitarist Richard Resnicoff tags the final four bars by himself. An exhilarating chart by the hardest swinging big band of the 1960s.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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