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Herb Geller

Herb Geller, born on 2. November 1928 in Los Angeles is an American Jazz Musician, Composer and Arranger.

His musical abilities could have been inherited from his mother, Francis. She worked at the neighbourhood cinemas playing piano accompanying silent movies.

At the age of 8 he was presented with an alto saxophone, purchased from a local music store owner and music teacher who was also a friend of the family and had a used instrument for sale.
Two years later he started clarinet. Herb attended Dorsey High School in the southwestern part of Los Angeles and joined the school band which among others included the musicians Eric Dolphy, Vi Redd and Bobby White.

At the age of 14 he heard Benny Carter perform at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles and was so impressed that he decided to persue a career in music, specializing on the alto saxophone.
Two years later during a summer vacation he had his first professional engagement in the band of the great jazz violinist Joe Venuti.

A short time later he discovered the music of Charlie Parker, who became an important idol along with Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges.

In 1949 Herb went to New York City for the first time, where he performed in the bands of Jack Fina, (with Paul Desmond also in the sax section), Claude Thornhill, Jerry Wald and Lucky Millinder.

During this time he met the pianist Lorraine Walsh in Los Angeles, who later in New York became his wife and also an important musical partner. After three years in New York Herb joined the Billy May orchestra in 1952 and following an engagement in Los Angeles the Gellers returned there to live.

The development of the Long Playing Record created more work opportunities for jazz musicians using many different ensembles and the so-called West Coast Jazz style became popular. Among the groups Herb worked and recorded with were Shorty Rogers, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Holman, Shelly Manne, Marty Paich, Barney Kessel, Andre Previn, Quincy Jones, Wardel Grey, Jack Sheldon and Chet Baker. Lorraine worked as the house pianist at the Lighthouse Jazz Club, and played with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Jack Teagarden, Bill Holman and was the accompanist for the singer Kay Starr. Herb recorded three LPs as a leader for Emarcy plus some with Dinah Washington, Max Roach, Clifford Brown, Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson and Kenny Drew.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

European Rebirth...

Fresh Sound Records


Birdland Stomp

Splasc(H) Records


Hot House

Splasc(H) Records


Stax Of Saxs

Splasc(H) Records




Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto
Johnny Hodges
saxophone, alto
Dexter Gordon
saxophone, tenor
Charlie Mariano
saxophone, alto
Benny Carter
saxophone, alto
Woody Herman
band / orchestra
Sonny Criss
saxophone, alto
Karrin Allyson
voice / vocals
Bud Shank
Al Cohn
saxophone, tenor

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