Weekend Extra: Woody Herman’s Second Herd

Browsing YouTube, I came across what must be among the rarest pieces of jazz film, a sequence of Woody Herman's Second Herd, the celebrated Four Brothers band. We hear Herman's vocal and a bit of Stan Getz's tenor saxophone on "Caldonia," then most of "Northwest Passage," both pieces holdovers from the First Herd destined to be staples in the Herman book for the rest of his life. Herman, Getz and Shorty Rogers play the trio section of "Northwest Passage," then there's a succession of four-bar … [Read more...]

Correspondence: About Mike Wofford

Rifftides Washington, DC, correspondent John Birchard has rediscovered pianist Mike Wofford and filed this appreciation: I've been listening lately to Mike Wofford. I first heard his work on an Epic LP titled Strawberry Wine back in the early 60's and was impressed, especially with a couple of his originals, "Strawberry Wine" and "Three For All." In '67, he did another trio LP, Sure Thing, on Discovery, produced by Albert Marx, that I still have on my LP shelf. In '76, during the brief Scott … [Read more...]

CDs: Going, Going…

Daedalus Books and Music is a company that sells remaindered or overstocked books and recordings. It is the beneficiary of what we might conservatively call a state of flux in the fields of book publishing and recorded music. Daedalus and similar overstock specialists gather the fruits of catalogs thinned or, in some cases, decimated by publishers and record companies and sell them at reduced prices. The Winter 2010 Daedalus catalog includes 33 pages of cutout jazz, blues and rock CDs. All but a … [Read more...]

Going And Coming: John Norris, Infinite Quintet

GOING To repeat: I have no intention of Rifftides becoming an obituary service, but as James Moody says his grandmother told him, "Folks is dyin' what ain't never died before," and some passings demand to be observed. John Norris died yesterday in Toronto at the age of 76. He was the founder of the Canadian jazz magazine Coda, and of Sackville Records. Norris was a benevolent and resolutely independent spirit in music north of the border. He steadfastly resisted technological demands of not … [Read more...]