- Category : Musician - Jazz
- Type : GE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 2
American musician of big bandleader era. In the 1940s, his music was up-to-date and always on the lookout for innovative arrangements. Jazz and pop brought Herman's music to radio. His ear for talent and ability to mold it brought to life such hits as "I've Got the World on a String," "Northwest Passage" and "Caldonia." Herman's style was highly eclectic as he was always willing to experiment with new arrangements in pop, jazz and standards.
The son of a successful shoemaker, Woody became a child vaudevillian, touring at age nine as a song-and-dance prodigy. With his first earnings, he bought a saxophone and then a clarinet. During his high school freshman year, he sometimes worked till 4 AM, getting into trouble for being asleep at his desk while in school. He finally left school to tour with Tom Gerun's band from San Francisco.
He joined the Isham Jones band in 1934 shortly before Jones decided to retire. Herman and five others formed a cooperative. Due to the draft and other personnel changes, Herman became sole owner. Highly successful in the 1940s, Herman had to adapt in the '50s and '60s to the disappearing dance halls, large nightclubs and hotel rooms that housed the big band era. Dubbed "The Thundering Herd" because of the energy of its music, his band played jazz festivals, concerts and college dates as well as in the overseas market. In the 1980s, tax problems emerged when it was discovered that no taxes or payroll taxes had been paid for a three-year period, 1964-66 by his manager, a gambler and con artist. His Hollywood home, once owned by Humphrey Bogart, was auctioned off by the government; he was allowed to rent by the new owner. He celebrated the 40th anniversary of his band in a Carnegie Hall concert. In the 70s he won two Grammy's but his subsequent earnings went straight to the IRS.
On 9/27/1936 Herman married Charlotte Neste, a stunning redhead he met with the Gerun band six years earlier. Herman suddenly "retired" in 1947 to remain home with Charlotte as she had become depressed, being left home with an infant daughter, and developed an addiction to pills and alcohol. She joined Alcoholics Anonymous and the marriage was secure enough for Herman to return to his band after seven months of being supportive to his wife's crisis. Charlotte often traveled with him in later years. She died after a long illness in late 1982, just weeks after a failed attempt to establish a permanent club in New Orleans.
Herman was admitted to the coronary intensive-care unit of Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre on 3/26/87 after suffering from effects on his heart of medication taken for high-altitude sickness during a tour through Colorado and Utah. Herman died at Cedar Sinai Medical Centre after suffering from congestive heart failure, emphysema and pneumonia on 29 October 1987.