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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.


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Youn Sun Nah, Herb Geller, Mark Masters and More

Read "Youn Sun Nah, Herb Geller, Mark Masters and More" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

This show features, among other things, vocals from Youn Sun Nah and Susanne Abbuehl, saxophone from Herb Geller and Melissa Aldana, and big band work from Mark Masters and William Parker. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait To Get Back Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

April Songs -Soulful Singles - Lesser known '50s players!

Read "April Songs -Soulful Singles - Lesser known '50s players!" reviewed by David Brown

This week on the Jazz Continuum, a set of April themed tunes from Sarah Vaughn to Anthony Braxton, soulful singles from Sugar Pie DeSanto to Irma Thomas, plus a swinging' set of lesser-known jazz men from the '50s and more. Playlist Thelonious Monk “Esistrophy (Theme)" from Live at the It Club-Complete (Columbia) 01:00 Charlie ...


European Rebirth -1962 Paris Sessions

Label: Fresh Sound Records
Released: 2022
Track listing: 01. Crazeology (Charlie Parker) 5:45 02. Brake’s Sake (Gigi Gryce) 5:44 03. C.T.A. (Jimmy Heath) 5:50 04. Foolin’ Myself (Lawrence-Tinturin) 4:12 05. I Didn’t Know About You (Duke Ellington) 3:40 06. It’s You or No One (Styne-Cahn) 6:54 07. I Should Care (Stordahl-Weston-Cahn) 3:26 08. Moanin’ (Bobby Timmons) 5:10 09. Tabou (Ernesto Lecuona) 5:09 10. There’s No Greater Love (Jones-Symes) 4:36 11. While the Cigarette was Burning (Charles & Nick Kenny) 3:51 12. Tominique C (Henri Renaud) 2:36 13. Greta, No.1 (Henri Renaud) 2:57 14. Solo for Gaby (Henri Renaud) 2:21 15. Oscar is Happy (Henri Renaud) 2:59 16. Blue ‘n’ Boogie (Gillespie-Paparelli) 2:57 * 17. A Cool Day (Bled & Butter) (Herb Geller) 5:36 *

News: Recording

Herb Geller: 1962 Paris Sessions

Herb Geller: 1962 Paris Sessions

In early 1958, alto saxophonist Herb Geller was having a hard year, a period that would only grow darker with catastrophe that fall. Up until then, he had it all. Starting in 1949, Herb had a meteoric career as a band and bop ensemble player. His orchestral work in the late 1940s and very early 1950s ...


News: Video / DVD

Herb Geller: Gypsy, 1959

Herb Geller: Gypsy, 1959

Of all the musicals that were hits on Broadway, songs from Gypsy were among the most covered by top jazz musicians. I'm sure West Side Story, My Fair Lady and South Pacific were up there, too, but they weren't quite as naturally jazzy as Gypsy. That's because Styne came up in the jazz age as a ...


Article: Album Review

Roberto Magris: Suite!

Read "Suite!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

When appraising a new recording by Roberto Magris, Rule No. 1 is always to expect the unexpected. On eighteen previous albums, the Italian-born pianist has produced tributes to Lee Morgan, Elmo Hope and Cannonball Adderley, welcomed guest artists Herb Geller, Sam Reed and Ira Sullivan, and led groups ranging from trio to septet, all for Kansas ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Matthew Whitaker, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Squirrel Nut Zippers and More

Read "Matthew Whitaker, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Squirrel Nut Zippers and More" reviewed by Joe Dimino

This week we caught up with young pianist Matthew Whitaker who was in our studios. In this episode we also feature clips from the February 2020 Kansas City shows of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Squirrel Nut Zippers. We also spoke with both Ron Burris and Sam Hirsh and showcase their new music. Thanks ...


News: TV / Film

Brownie Speaks Screening At The Monterey Jazz Festival on September 17

Brownie Speaks Screening At The Monterey Jazz Festival on September 17

Brownie Speaks: A Video Documentary about jazz legend Clifford Brown will be screened at the Monterey Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 5:30 PM. The event, which will include a Q&A with producer/director Don Glanden, will take place at the Jazz Theater. The film has received rave reviews and numerous accolades in the jazz ...


Article: Album Review

Roberto Magris: Need to Bring Out Love

Read "Need to Bring Out Love" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Perhaps the best word with which to describe Italian-born pianist Roberto Magris is busy. Since launching his career in the late '70s, the fifty-six-year-old keyboardist has performed with a veritable who's who of jazz luminaries in forty-one countries, and Need to Bring Out Love is his twenty-seventh album as leader of his own groups (in this ...


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