Herb Geller is eighty years old today. The alto saxophonist was the performing guest of honor tonight in a tribute concert by the NDR (North German Radio) Big Band. From 1965 to 1993,
Geller was a star soloist of the NDR, one of the best large jazz aggregations in the world. The concert was in the NDR’s venerable Rolf Liebermann studio. Since his mandatory retirement at sixty-five, Geller has been at least as busy as he was during the previous forty-seven years of his career. One of the major post-Charlie Parker alto soloists, he plays frequently in Europe and the United States. His most recent CD is Herb Geller At The Movies (Hep). His latest video is this one:
This video is one of three on You Tube showing Geller in 1972 rehearsing for a concert with the Bill Evans Trio in Germany. In it, he plays piccolo and flute. In the second video, he plays alto sax and flute and continues in this conclusion of the rehearsal sequence. Together, the three clips give us twenty-five minutes of four of the leading jazz players of their time preparing their music. These videos provide a precious opportunity to see Evans at once serious and relaxed in collaboration with a peer for whom he obviously had great respect.
Happy Birthday, Herb. Long may you wave.