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For this 1958 recording Woody Herman stepped aside and let bassist Chubby Jackson have the reins of the band. This would have been any player's dream, for the Herd was stocked with talented players who grew up listening to the Four Brothers and bebop and could solo with the best of them. As a result, Herman's band was still capable of turning up the heat long after the height of the big band era, as his other releases for the Everest label attest.
It's a bit disappointing, then, that Chubby Takes Over isn't better than it is. By and large it's a pleasant album of serviceable and unspectacular big band recordings with a few nice solos from the likes of Al Cohn and Bob Brookmeyer. The problem is that everything is dispatched in the same medium tempo bounce and blasting brass that dominated big band music from the forties. Even the ballads are afraid to stay gentle, building to a dramatic climax. The pedestrian arrangements have a lot to do with it, but certainly a more varied program of tunes would have helped; quite a few songs are indistinguishable from each other.
It's not a bad effort by any means, but Chubby Takes Over isn't up to the standards of the Herd's other Everest work. As the cheerleader of the band, Jackson surely provided a lot of energy, but he needs some work on his play calling.
Track Listing: Loch Lamond; Tradition; A Ballad For Jai; When The Saints Go Marching In; Oh Look At Me
Now;; Everest; Yes Indeed; It's Delovely; Cover The Earth With Your Loveliness; Alexander's
Ragtime Band; Woodshed; Hail, Hail, The Herd's All Here.
Personnel: Ernie Royal, Irving Markowitz, Al Stewart, Nick Travis, Bernie Glow: trumpets; Frank Rehak,
Bob Brookmeyer, Jim Dahl, Bill Elton, Tom Mitchell: trombones; Sam Most, Sam Marowitz,
Al Cohn, Pete Mondello, Danny Bank: reeds; Marty Napoleon: piano; Chubby Jackson: bass;
Don Lamond: drums.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.