Blue Flame: Woody Herman's Life in Music

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Purdue University Press


In Blue Flame, noted regional biographer Robert C. Kriebel devotes his admiring attention to documenting Herman's life and music. No aspect of Herman's career escapes his gaze: the musicians-both famous and obscure who played in his bands, the music they played, the writers and arrangers of that music, the famous recordings, and the ups and downs of band life from the big-band heyday of the 1930s through half a century of changing tastes and changing times. The result of Kriebel's painstaking research is an accurate and detailed picture of the strenuous and frustrating life of' a big-band leader-a life that Herman himself characterized as "a big pain ... you're victimized before you even start, and it never lets up. There is no life, there is no home." Passion for the music, music-making, musicians, and fans kept Herman going. Kriebel captures these trials and passions for the reader in lively prose.