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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.


Jazz From The Pacific Northwest

Label: Reel to Real
Released: 2024
Track listing: Side A: Stop, Look and Listen; The Vamp's Blues. Side B: Quartet (Suite in Four Movements). Side C: Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise; Summertime; Dearly Beloved. Side D: Funny; Secret Love; Surrey With The Fringe On Top.


Article: Album Review

Shelly Manne & His Men: Jazz From The Pacific Northwest

Read "Jazz From The Pacific Northwest" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

Shelly Manne & His Men are presented in two iterations in never-before-released live recordings from the 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival and from a 1966 date at The Penthouse in Seattle entitled Jazz From The Pacific Northwest. In this deluxe limited edition 180-gram 2LP set, co-produced for release by the estimable Zev Feldman and Cory Weeds, the ...


Article: Journey into Jazz

Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases

Read "Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Every year, Record Store Day (RSD) promises limited edition vinyl releases for all tastes in music. From the latest popular artists to the most obscure archival releases, RSD drops try to cover a lot of musical territory. Practically all genres of music are represented and, of course, jazz is no exception. Fortunately, the April 2024 drop ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Jazz Before the Oscars: Part 2

Read "Jazz Before the Oscars: Part 2" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

There has always been plenty of interplay between jazz and movies: jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway or Harry Connick, Jr. turned actors; or actors like Jeff Goldblum or Cybill Shepherd turned jazz musicians; jazz soundtracks for movie; or movies about jazz musicians...However, in anticipation of Oscars Night, here we are focusing on ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Carla Bley Tribute, Bartók Jazz, Hot Sax LPs

Read "Carla Bley Tribute, Bartók Jazz, Hot Sax LPs" reviewed by David Brown

This week includes jazz takes on Bela Bartók, a Set of Hot Sax and a look at Philly arranger Lee Lovett. The second half of the show will be dedicated to the compositions of Carla Bley who passed this week. Welcome friends and neighbors to The Jazz Continuum. Old, new, in, out... wherever the music takes ...


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 ...


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