top of page

Sultry Serenade: HERBIE MANN

RLP-117 118 A
RLP-201R front.jpg
Sultry Serenade: HERBIE MANN
RLP-117 118 A.jpg
RLP-117 118 B.jpg

Sextet: Herbie Man (fl, as, b-cl) Jack Nimitz (b-cl, brs) Urbie Green (tb) Joe Puma (g) Oscar Pettiford (b) Charlie Smith (drs)

Quartet (on Side 1, #3; Side 2, #2 and 4) Herbie Mann (fl, a-fl) Joe Puma (g) Oscar Pettiford (b) Charlie Smith (drs)

New York; April 1 and 8, 1957


1. Let Me Tell You (4:24) (Herbie Mann)

2. When the Sun Comes Out (5:05) (Koehler – Arlen)

3. Professor (3:42) (Joe Puma)

4. Lazy Bones (7:10) (Mercer – Carmichael/ arr. Herbie Mann)


1. Sultry Serenade (4:59) (Turee Glenn/ arr. Nat Pierce)

2. Little Man You've Had a Busy Day (5:07) (Sigler – Hoffman – Wayne/ arr. H. Mann)

3. One Morning in May (4:03) (Hoagy Carmichael/ arr. Joe Puma)

4. Swing Till the Girls Come Home (4:50) (Oscar Pettiford)

   Jazz is a music capable of infinite varieties of color, sound and content. Its boundaries were once considered to e reasonably well defined and limited, but by now it is no longer surprising to find all manner of previously taboo voicings, instruments and instrumental groupings included and most deservedly so under the ever-broadening heading of "jazz." It has added to the full jazz repertoire a great many fascinating sounds, horns and ideas that would formerly have been ruled off limits. Thus there are now (if you'll pardon a fairly unavoidable pun) quite a few fresh winds blowing through the land of jazz.

   This album is concerned with such exciting newer matters. The focal point here is the playing, and also the arranging skills, of HERBIE MANN, a talented young New Yorker who has rapidly established himself as one of the outstanding jazz flutists. The flute is perhaps the most important of the horns that have of late been added to the jazz picture. The role of this instrument is still largely as one on which saxophone players 'double' - Mann is one of the few who regard it as their principal means of musical expression and can quite safely be called the most highly regarded of these. (The poll minded may note that Herbie's usual position on such lists is second only to Bud Shank, who is of course primarily an alto sax man.)

   The criticism most often leveled against music emphasizing the flute or other new

jazz instruments is the one about "Yes, it's interesting, but is it jazz? Whether or not this line is valid (and if so, how often) is something else again. It is mentioned here merely to emphasize that one accurate way of describing Herbie Mann is as the flute player who, above all, always sounds as if his mind is completely on jazz.

(Born in Brooklyn in 1930, Mann began playing clarinet at nine, got his career under way while with the Army in Europe, and has worked with such as Mat Matthews and Pete Rugolo. Up to this point, his doubling has been on tenor sax, but the Lazy Bones track of this album marks the emergence into the open of his interest in bass clarinet. On a forthcoming Riverside LP, he will be heard solely on this horn.)

   One of the notable features of this album is that it offers an overall unity: an internal musical consistency and purpose. This may not sound especially off trail when merely stated in so many words, but it should be recognized as a rather rare quality in jazz recording nowadays.  Rather than charging abruptly from one tempo to another, as if anxious to demonstrate how many different things he can do, Herbie concentrates here on developing and maintaining a continuing basic mood, one that is extremely well suited to the kind of instrumentation being used. Even though Lazy Bones gets fairly earthy and the striking Oscar Pettiford number, Swing Till the Girls Come Home is anything but sleepy, these are the outer limits, and they are well within the range of the total effect suggested by the title tune: Sultry Serenade.

   Mann himself expresses it by saying that he wanted the overall feeling to be that of the sound of the alto flute. The fact that he plays that instrument on only half the selections is not to be taken as contradictory. For in the voicings of the horns, guitar and rhythm, it is the particular rich flavor of that flute pitch that prevails throughout.

   Herbie obviously helped himself towards his goal more than a little by a very astute choice of colleagues here. URBIE GREEN, who first made his reputation in the early 1950s with the Woody Herman band, is one of today's most impressive trombonists. JACK NIMITZ was featured with a slightly later Herman Herd; his talents on baritone sax are just beginning to receive due recognition. OSCAR PETTIFORD is perhaps the major bassist of the past decade and, quite understandly, in constant demand for recording dates. JOE PUMA has worked with, among many others, Artie Shaw and Don Elliott; most recently he has helped make up among with Mann, Mat Matthews and Whitey Mitchell the New York Jazz Quartet. CHARLIE SMITH is a highly accomplished young drummer whose various associations include a long stint with the Billy Taylor Trio.

   The repertoire includes some under used standards, among them two ballads (Harold Arlen's When the Sun Comes Out and Hoagy Carmichel's One Morning in May) that have been scandalously neglected up to now. Mat Pierce has contributed a colorful scoring of Tyree Glenn's Sultry Serenade, first recorded by Duke Ellington and thereafter also unaccountably by passed. Mann's four arrangements (marking the first time he has scored for as many as six pieces) include a treatment of this own unusual waltz, Let Me Tell You, originally written for a network TV show that apparently had a sudden brief urge to raise its musical sights.

   A Note on Instrumentation: Herbie Mann plays flute on Let Me Tell You, Professor, and Swing Till the Girls Come Home; bass clarinet on Lazy Bones only; alto flute on the other four selections. Jack Nimitz plays baritone sax on Let Me Tell You and Lazy Bones, bass clarinet on the three other Sextet numbers.

   Other outstanding examples of contemporary jazz on HIGH FIDELITY 12-inch Riverside LPs include –

SONNY ROLLINS: The Sound of Sonny (RLP12-241)

KENNY DORHAM: Jazz Contrasts: with Sonny Rollins, Max roach (RLP12-239)

Trigger Happy: TRIGGER ALPERT’s Absolutely All-Star Seven; with Tony Scott, Zoot Sims, Joe Wilder, Al Cohn, Urbie Green, Ed Shaughnessy (RLP12-225)

New Music of ALEC WILDER; composed for MUNDELL LOWE and his orchestra (RLP12-219)

A Grand Night for Swinging: MUNDELL LOWE; with Billy Taylor, Gene Quill (RLP12-238)

Brilliant Corners: THELONIOUS MONK; with Sonny Rollins, Ernie Henry, Clark Terry, Max Roach (RLP12-226)

Thelonious Himself: solo piano by THELONIOUS MONK (RLP12-235)

The Hawk Flies High: COLEMAN HAWKINS; with J. J. Johnson, Idrees Sulieman, Hank Jones (RLP12-233)

Zoot!: The ZOOT SIMS Quintet (RLP12-228)

GIGI GRYCE and the Jazz Lab Quintet; with Donald Byrd (RLP12-229)


A HIGH FIDELITY Recording Riverside Reeves SPECTRODONIC High Fidelity Engineering

    (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).

Produced by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer

Notes by Orrin Keepnews

Cover by Paul Weller (photography) and Paul Bacon (design).

Engineer: Jack Higgins (Reeves Sound Studios)


553 West 51st Street  New York 19, N.Y.

bottom of page