This Proper Box not only documents the celebrated First and Second Herds but also the development of Herman's big band from the start. The booklet enclosed gives a clear illustrated account of this development and contains a detailed discography.
The sound quality is high, allowing the dynamics of the.band to come across clearly. Not all the vocals and novelty numbers are equally interesting. However, one has to admire Caledonia and Your Father's Moustache for their sheer joie de vivre. Certain of the purely instrumental numbers surely represent some of high points of swing - The Good Earth, Bijou, North-West Passage -and early examples of the bop influence on big band music - Four Brothers, Lemon Drop, Early Autumn. Herman's was a very long career. His orchestra was a training ground for many young musicians who later achieved fame in other contexts - Getz, Sims, Giuffre, Flip Phillips, Bill Harris, Neil Hefti. Herman himself, while not the most original of players, had great drive and enthusiasm and knew how to get the best out of his musicians. This box is a fine collection of his earlier work. Well done, as usual, Proper!