The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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During the 1940s Herman's popularity remained at a fairly steady level despite several changes in style. For a while the semi-Dixieland ensemble style gave way to a series of arrange­ments, many of them written by Dave Matthews, that drew heavily on Ellington for their source material. In 1943-4 the band took on a modernist tinge and became the first white orchestra conspicuously influenced by bebop. Neal Hefti and Ralph Burns played and arranged in the band at this time; Bill Harris and Flip Phillips were featured soloists, and the rhythm section, one of the happiest teams of its kind in modern jazz history, included Billy Bauer; guitar; Chubby Jackson, bass; Dave Tough and later Don Lamond on drams. For a couple of years, between 1945 and *47, Herman enjoyed the kind of recognition among jazz fans that was later to be accorded Stan Kenton. The original band broke up in December 1946. Since 1947 Herman has led a big band intermittently; his orchestras frequently have been the grammar school for rising jazz stars. The 1947-9 en­semble came to be known as the "Four Brothers" band because of the unique reed section blend achieved by the tenor saxo­phones of Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Al Cohn and the baritone of Serge Chaloff.
The Herman band's most important contribution to jazz was the team spirit engendered by the 1944-6 personnel, in which there was a parallel for the Basie orchestra of a decade earlier, in that the "head" arrangements and the general atmosphere of spontaneity seemed pragmatically more important than anything found on the manuscript paper.
A similar atmosphere seemed to pervade the Lionel Hampton band when the vibraphonist left Benny Goodman and resumed his bandleading career in 1940. For a few years the band man­aged to maintain a policy of euphoria without hysteria; the latter quality took over almost exclusively in later years as Hampton tended more and more toward a policy of erotic excite­ment that had much in common with rock and roll. Hampton displayed an uncanny knack for discovering great new jazz solo­ists, but many of them complained on leaving the band that they had had little or no opportunity to display their talents properly in this chaotic setting. Nevertheless, the Hampton band has