Blue Flame: Woody Herman's Life in Music
"All we do is try to create some kind of mood, and hopesomebody digs it" was how the likeable and talented jazzman Woody Herman(1913-87) explained his success. For an incredible fifty years and four months,Herman led a variety of always changing, always young and exciting bands. Andhe did so with style.
In Blue Flame,noted regional biographer Robert C. Kriebel devotes his admiring attention todocumenting Herman's life and music. No aspect of Herman's career escapes hisgaze: the musicians - both famous and obscure who played in his bands, the musicthey played, the writers and arrangers of that music, the famous recordings,and the ups and downs of band life from the big-band heyday of the 1930sthrough half a century of changing tastes and changing times. The result ofKriebel's painstaking research is an accurate and detailed picture of thestrenuous and frustrating life of a big-band leader - a life that Herman himselfcharacterized as "a big pain . . . you're victimized before you even start,and it never lets up. There is no life, there is no home." Passion for themusic, music-making, musicians, and fans kept Herman going. Kriebel capturesthese trials and passions for the reader in lively prose that includes achronological listing of recordings, an informal journal of the travels andperformances of Herman's various bands, a roster of musicians, and valuable oldand recent photographs.