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Tribute To Woody Herman

September 23, 1993|ZAN STEWART

Here's what a handful of former Herman sidemen, who'll be taking part in "Early Autumn," have been up to in recent years:

Shorty Rogers (with Herman from 1945 to '50): Since the mid-'50s, the trumpeter-fluegelhornist has been writing for films and TV. He retired from active playing for a while but re-emerged about 10 years ago to become quite a spark plug on the Los Angeles jazz scene, invigorating such bands as Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars and his own Giants with a streamlined, mainstream-minded approach.

Conte Candoli (with Herman in 1943, '45 and '50): Influenced by Dizzy Gillespie and with lots of sizzle around the edges of his sound, this trumpet player has never gone long without work. After Herman, he worked with Stan Kenton, Doc Severinsen's "Tonight Show" orchestra, the Lighthouse All-Stars and Supersax. He is still involved with the latter two groups and recently formed a quintet with saxman Pete Christlieb to release "Sweet Simon" (on the Best label), Candoli's first recording in years.

Bill Perkins (with Herman from 1951 to '54): Initially inspired by Lester Young, saxman Perkins shifted his sights about 10 years ago and now takes a more modernist stance, reflecting his interest in John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano. He has worked with the Lighthouse All-Stars (on tenor) and Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra (on baritone) as well as with his own quartet and Frank Strazzeri's Woodwinds West.

Flip Phillips (with Herman from 1944 to '46): With a sound as hearty as Cream of Wheat and a propensity for making listeners tap their feet, this saxophonist was a big star with Jazz at the Philharmonic from 1946 to 1957. Since then, living in Florida, he has done occasional tours and one-night stands but mostly plays a lot of golf. Two years ago at the Hyatt Newporter, however, he showed that he still packs plenty of punch and can be as persuasive with swinging tunes as with slow, succulent ballads. He records for Concord Jazz and Progressive Records.

Jimmy Rowles (with Herman in the mid-'40s): In the '50s, the pianist with a friendly growl of a voice was the accompanist of choice in Los Angeles studios, where he backed Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee and many others on countless recordings. After a sojourn to New York in the late '70s and early '80s, he once again settled in Southern California but, with an extreme case of emphysema, works only intermittently, appearing mostly with his daughter, trumpeter Stacy Rowles.

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