Chapter 5 FB: Who else in Woody's big band was from Boston like Nat was? Were there some other Boston cats in the band? AMG: Oh the band was loaded. Oh oh oh. Tom ??? remember him (FB:Yeah yeah.) Baritone player, he died very young that was unfortunate. Phil Wilson was there. FB: Another local boy who was... put a lot of years in at Berklee. AMG: Yeah Phil was there, Bill Chase was there... FB: Jake Hannah. AMG: Jake Hannah was there. And the bass player was from Springfield. FB: Who’s he? Who was that? AMG: I've forgotten his name. FB: It’s ok. Not Chubby Jackson. AMG: No not Chubby. FB: But I mean... I think Woody had already come down here and raided Berklee to get some of these guys. AMG: I don't know about you know... it's not like that. Nat pierce was the man. He would write down names of guys that would fit certain places. You know what I mean? (FB: Yup.) He would go into town and would say so and so and so and so... So, when ... 'cause everybody can't take everybody's place. You know who he brought in for Fonatine he brought in Dusko Gerkovich. (FB: Oh yeah.) So we all came in the same, Dusko Gerkovich came in the same time I came in. So Dusko Gerkovich took his place. He knew about Dusko Gerkovich. He knew about me because I was taking Sal's place. By him being that smart if Bill Chase which is Boston lead trumpet player well he wouldn't have called Dusko Gerkovich to play lead he would have somebody else play lead. FB: Right like Lin Biviano or somebody who can play the top notes. AMG: But Nat Pierce was aware of what was happening for it… the musical concerns. So, Dusko came in the band same time it was Dusko Gerkovich and Bob Stru I think...that's probably not the right. He took Kenny Winsor's place. Of course Phil was playing lead. Phil can tell you who he was. He took uh...That was it. Those were the two replacements in the band. FB: So, how was Woody's band different from Hamp's band? AMG: No difference. Basically. It's a hard swingin band. That's why I got there. Well naturally it's different in sound because he uses three tenors and a baritone. (FB: Right.) What I'm saying, I'm not saying they both sound the same, I'm saying they're both swingin. (FB: Ok.) I mean, that's it you know. FB: What about... did they hit the same circuit of places? Did they go to the same cities or the same... AMG: Well Hamp, I think Hamp was a more Europe... Hamp was in Europe most… Hamp went to Europe every year. I was in Woody's band 3 years we only went once. FB: May have had to do with the economics at the time as well. A little bit later in the evolution of the big band career. In the ‘50s I think there was probably more business more international business. AMG: Well yeah, Hamp... I think Hamp was the first big band that went over. (FB: Oh ok.) Hamp was really pretty established in Europe you know. FB: Dizzy did a big state department tour, but that was a political thing. AMG: Well he must have done it after Hamp. Because Hamp's band was the first. In fact, You know Hamp, you know who was in that band? When Hamp first went to Europe, Cliff Brown, Allen Dawson, I'm not sure, Gigi Gryce and maybe and some other guys. FB: Was Quincy Jones in the band? AMG: Quincy Jones. That's the band... because that was Hamp that he just made that band up. FB: That was some bad cats. AMG: He took that band. And the funny thing about that story is Allen Dawson came by to see us in Atlantic City 'cause he was still in the Army. He and I were tight because we were in the army band together in Fort Dicks and we... Clarence Johnson told Allen that Hamp was organizing the band to go to Europe. FB: You know you're right. That was '52. That they went... AMG: That was '54. '54. '54. FB: I think that was before a Dizzy. I think Dizzy went a year later. AMG: Yeah that was '54. So, Hamp... So they told Allen. And Allen went over there and took that gig. And that band went to Europe. That was '54. FB: That's right. I think Dizzy came a year or two later. And the State department underwrote it. AMG: Hamp was the first. State department didn't bring Hamp over. Hamp was brought over by the hot jazz magazine who got it from Belgium ???. The hot jazz. FB: And you got 16 18 weeks out of it? Oh no, that was a different tour that was the earlier tour. AMG: Hamp was… I've never seen so many people in my life at a concert. It was amazing. FB: So Woody didn't get the same kind of draw? He would play ballrooms but not big concerts? AMG: Ballrooms where you getting that... he played all those places that political speeches were made by Adolf. We played big places I mean ... in Germany we played all those places where they had all those big rallies, political rallies. We're talkin 2, 3000 people. In Berlin, they let some of people from East Berlin come in of course they had the wall like that. I bet you there were 5000 people. It was just… It was amazing. I couldn't believe it. So, Hamp, he was really big in Europe. He played a great show. Plus ???(mumbling) FB: So, how did your time go with Woody? I mean it was a good time? AMG: Oh great. It was really really really nice. Woody was real real real nice, nice person and he was very cool. He said, "Andy, look I'm glad to have you in the band." Of course he made a statement that he didn't hire me because I was black or anything he just liked the way I play. So he wrote a whole article about that. He said, "Look if you ever have any problems as long as you're in the band. Come to me I'll straighten it out." I appreciate that. (mumblings) All the time I was there I only had a problem one time. That's it. FB: That's good. It's nice to get that settled when you arrive. AMG: Yeah, but not only.. when I joined the band. The next week Joe Carol joined the band too. FB: Oh boy. AMG: Joe C??? FB: How long was he with you? AMG: Well he just did…We were on our way to Lake Tahoe. Phil will probably talk you about that. And they did the thing together wa wa blues Phil that. Yeah Phil did that arrangement. FB: Joe was a gas. What a great singer wow. AMG: After Lake Tahoe I think they didn't carry a singer anymore, but Joe Carol was there too. FB: Wow. AMG: I’m sure Phil will talk to you about that 'cause Phil did the thing together Wa wa Blues. FB: Yeah you guys were in the band kind of about the same time. Phil was a little ahead of you by a year, year and a half. AMG: Yeah Phil… They were probably… They were featuring Phil on the... FB: Lonesome Old Town. AMG: Yeah yeah. So, yeah. Of course Phil played great lead you know. So Phil had been there for a while. When we came in that kind of uprooted the band. The band was kind of together for a while 'cause Sal was a hell of a tenor player. He kind of put the band back on track. FB: Yeah Woody had a bunch of herds from '48 on. They'd come and go and come and go. But that was a very strong band you were on. AMG: Well yeah. With Sal, they call it the Swingin Herd instead of the number one herd. And Sal did “Sister Sadie” and a couple other tunes. I have to give him credit because that picked the band up and got them back on track. (FB: Yeah.) Herb worrying. Herb was worrying about that because when Sal left Herb ??? report out in California. He was so upset ‘cause Sal had gone. He flew all the way out to New York to see who was gonna take Sal's place. FB: Yeah what did he have to say about you? AMG: Well after he heard me. What could he say? He said, Well ok. But, he was really really um concerned. And then later, on "Dr. Wong's Bag" I played the solo on it. (FB: Oh I don't know that one.) Nat wrote a thing called "Dr. Wong's Bag" and he was very happy with that. But he was, he was very upset. He was upset. I just saw him when we did the tribute to Woody two or three years ago when we moved Woody's grave from one place to another. I Talked to Herb. He was there. FB: Oh is that right? AMG: Yeah and I asked him and we laughed about it. Phil, when we went out there, We took a trip out to Woody we had all the guys you know so I was in that. And I played in the ??? band with Phil and I did “Sister Sadie.” FB: The whole ??? band went out? AMG: Oh yeah. Phil was there. The singer, Miles she was there... FB: Oh Elisa Miles? AMG: Yeah. They had John Laporta there. They had Terry Gibbs. They had Joe Romana... No it was Joe Lovano. FB: Joe Lovano. AMG: Joe Lovano. Joe Lovano, they had Woody Herman's band with the leader Fred... they had him with his band… FB: Frank Tiberi? AMG: Frank Tiberi yeah they had the band and we did some, we did a thing together with 3 tenors battled a thing out there. (FB: Wow.) And they had Terry Gibbs. They had everybody that had been... 20-25 guys for Woody's band. And that was a tribute to him, and I played with the ??? band. I just played one tune. FB: Great great. That's nice. AMG: It was nice. FB: Yeah I always dug Herb. He's quite a character. I see him at the conventions and we talk a little bit. AMG: Oh yeah? He's mellowed down a bit. He was very boy he was upset. We laughed about that.