The remarkable Woody Herman big band of the mid-1940s never made a studio recording of the roaring blues called “Red Top.” As the swing era was losing ground to bebop, the Herman First Herd blended the best of both genres. Today’s edition of Mosaic Records’ Gazette includes “Red Top” from a 1945 Herman radio broadcast, along with an extensive history of the Herman band by the swing era scholar Michael Zirpolo. Soloists include pianist Ralph Burns, tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips, trombonist Bill Harris and the arsonist trumpeter Pete Candoli. To hear that rare performance and read Zirpolo’s essay, click here.
Mosaic evidently long ago sold out its seven-CD box set of the Herman band’s 1945-1947 Columbia recordings. It has become a collector’s item. Alert web browsers may be able to track it down on some sites; this one, for instance. Good luck. It’s a treasure.