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Leader of the Band: The Life of Woody Herman
 

Leader of the Band: The Life of Woody Herman (Paperback, New edition)

By Lees, Gene

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Woody Herman was a central figure in the development of jazz. This biography follows his rise to prominence in the 1930s as leader of the band that plays the blues , through success in the 1940s , when bebop rapidly developed, to the ultimate tragedy that broke Herman's career.

ISBN 9780195115741
Barcode 9780195115741
Published 1 January 1998 by Oxford University Press (S1)
Format Paperback, New edition
Availability
Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780195115741
ISBN-10 0195115740
Stock Available
Status Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks
Publisher Oxford University Press (S1)
Imprint Oxford University Press Inc
Publication Date 1 January 1998
International Publication Date 1 January 2006
Publication Country United States United States
Format Paperback, New edition
Edition New edition
Author(s) By Lees, Gene
Category Jazz
Blues music
Biography & Autobiography: Film, Television, Music, Theatre
Number of Pages 428
Dimensions Width: 156mm
Height: 234mm
Spine: 28mm
Weight 638g
Interest Age 19+ years
Reading Age 19+ years
Library of Congress Jazz musicians, United States, Biography
NBS Text Biography: The Arts
ONIX Text College/higher education;Professional and scholarly
Dewey Code 781.65092
Catalogue Code Not specified

Description of this Book

Woody Herman was a central figure in the development of jazz - a musical giant whose career spanned the big band and bebop eras. Gene Lees has spent close to a decade interviewing Herman's friends and fellow musicians, to produce a portrait of the triumph and tragedy of a life in jazz. This biography follows his rise to prominence in the 1930s as leader of the band that plays the blues , through success in the 1940s , when bebop rapidly developed, to the ultimate tragedy that broke Herman's career - when his manager diverted the band's withholding tax to settle gambling debts. Along the way, Lees brings to life the weary routine of performing on the road, with its constant one-night engagements and unending travel, broken only by brief stays at home and moments of camaraderie.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review [Lees is] one of our most valuable musis journalists. --The New York Times Book Review<br> Remarkably comprehensive and as vivacious as Herman would have wanted. --Booklist<br>
US Review Workmanlike biography of a famed big bandsman. Woody Herman (1913 - 87) was one of the great figures of the big-band era, as instrumentalist, vocalist, and particularly as band leader. His famous series of herds introduced many key musicians, particularly the noted saxophone section of the Second Herd, featuring Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Al Cohn. Herman's first group, which came to prominence in 1937, took a more swinging approach to the music than other bands of the day and became known as The Band that Plays the Blues, thanks to their earthy repertoire. After the war, Herman was one of the first to embrace the progressive harmonies and jagged melodies of bebop, which was pushing out the edges of acceptable jazz. However, with the decline of the big bands in the '50s - attributed by Lees to the success of rock 'n' roll and the closing of many large ballrooms - Herman struggled to keep his group going. By the late '60s, he had half-heartedly embraced rock 'n' roll, even recording the Doors' Light My Fire and other rock songs. In his later years, charged by the IRS with tax evasion, Herman had to keep performing despite declining band standards and his own poor health. Lees (Cats of Any Color, 1994, etc.) is a noted jazz writer and a friend of Herman's; he even worked for a while as a publicist for him. Although obviously a dedicated fan (his negative feelings toward rock and contemporary pop make for some curmudgeonly passages), he is even-handed. Lees covers much the same ground as William Clancy's recent Woody Herman: Chronicle of the Herds (p. 191), although Clancy's book is more of an oral history, while this is a straight narrative. A few high notes from the past, bathed in a warm, nostalgic glow. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author's Bio

Gene Lees is the author of many books on jazz and popular music, including Singers and the Song, Meet Me at Jim and Andy's, Waiting for Dizzy, and Cats of Any Color. He was formerly an editor of Down Beat, and is the publisher of Jazzletter (P.O. Box 240, Ojai, California 93024-0240).

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