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Giant Steps

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Album Review

Woody Herman always went out of his way during his long career to encourage younger players, often persuading them to write arrangements of recent tunes for his orchestra. On this recording one gets to hear his band interpret such selections as Chick Corea's "La Fiesta," Leon Russell's "A Song for You," "Freedom Jazz Dance," "A Child Is Born" and "Giant Steps"; what other bandleader from the '30s would have performed such modern material? With strong solo work from tenors Gregory Herbert and Frank Tiberi, trumpeter Bill Stapleton and Herman himself, this is an impressive effort.

Customer Reviews

Excellent 1970s Big Band

If you enjoyed the fusion Big Band of the 1970's you'll love this; La Fiesta being the shining star. Woody kept it alive in he 70s, as did Maynard Ferguson.

Thundering . . .

Today's jazz music educators should be eternally grateful for Woody Herman. The well-established big band leader's later efforts were focused on preserving large ensemble jazz music by encouraging younger artists to take interest in and further develop the genre. Nearly all of the arrangements in "Giant Steps" and his later album, "The Raven Speaks", were made available to high school and college music ensembles shortly after the release date in a format that was easily read, understood, and performed by students who may have never had any prior jazz or big band experience.

I heard this Herd in the 70's...

A great band, even though Woody was getting a bit long of tooth. A very successful shot at adapting the big band to the popular tunes of the time. A superb buy for less than $9.00 for big band jazz fans, or anybody than appreciates incredible musicians.


Born: May 16, 1913 in Milwaukee, WI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

A fine swing clarinetist, an altoist whose sound was influenced by Johnny Hodges, a good soprano saxophonist, and a spirited blues vocalist, Woody Herman's greatest significance to jazz was as the leader of a long line of big bands. He always encouraged young talent and, more than practically any bandleader from the swing era, kept his repertoire quite modern. Although Herman was always stuck performing a few of his older hits (he played "Four Brothers" and "Early Autumn" nightly for nearly 40 years),...
Full Bio