A great assortment of tracks from these Woody Herman offshoots – one date recorded in Paris, the other back home in California! First up is The Herdsmen Play Paris – a set done overseas by a group that includes Ralph Burns
on piano, Dick Collins on trumpet, Cy Touff on bass trumpet, Jerry Coker and Bill Perkins on tenor, Dick Hafer on alto, and rhythm from French players who include Henri Renaud on piano, Jimmy Gourley on guitar, and Jean Louis Viale on drums! There's an open, flowing quality to the work that's great – a bit more of a relaxed vibe than the Woody Herman sound, with lots of nice Parisian postwar touches in the way the tunes are put together. Titles include "The Gypsy", "Wet Back On The Left Bank", "Embarkation", "Just 40 Bars", "Pot Luck", and "Palm Cafe". The second half of the CD features material from the Nat Pierce/
Dick Collins Nonet album on Fantasy – recorded earlier in 1954 at the Marine's Memorial Auditorium in San Francisco. The group's a nonet, with Pierce on piano, Collins on trumpet, Jerry Coker on tenor, Jack Nimitz on baritone, John Howell on trumpet, and Cy Touff on bass trumpet – that great low-toned instrument that really adds a nice bottom to this date. Titles include "I'll Never Be The Same", "Drop The Other Shoe", "Some of These Days", "Easy Living", "Blue Lester", and "The King".