Herbie Mann – Live at Newport (1963)


I know there are quite a few people waiting for me to finish up the Marcos Valle series, but I’ve been rather busy lately. But a whole week without a blog post is just unconscionable, so here’s a quick one (while he’s away).

Herbie Mann still doesn’t get enough credit for his role in helping spread the seeds of musical cross-fertilization between the US and Brazil, nor for the amount of great players that passed through the ranks of his various ensembles. My explanation for this lack of respect hinges on the fact that by the late sixties Herbie would become obsessed with taking his shirt off for every photo op, bearing his hairy pectorals while blowing madly on his flute. And also committing the venial jazz sin of flirting too much with commercialism for the jazz critics, embracing soul, R&B, funk, rock, and disco at one time or another.

This is a very fine set of music from Herbie with his shirt still on, and a lineup that boasts Dave Pike, Willie Bobo and Patato Valdez. From Bennie Goodman to Luis Bonfa, there really isn’t a dull moment. And a ripping bossa-bop treatment of “Desafinado” is all on its own enough to make this record worth having. The solos from Herbie and Dave Pike are a world apart from the many sleepier, starchier American jazz appropriations of bossa nova’s own appropriations of American jazz. It’s as if the original Jobim/Mendonça song had a zipper, and Herbie Mann pulled the zipper all the way down, pushed the fabric inside out, stuffed it with a simulacrum of Dizzy Gillespie, pulled the zipper back up, and gave it to us all on Christmas day. Just like if you go far enough to the east you end up in the west eventually, bossa nova’s whitening of samba is baptized into Black American music and Latin Jazz by a Jew from Brooklyn.

Oh, and lots of folks are fond of pointing out that this live version of `Garota de Ipanema` (The Girl from Ipanema)was actually recorded before the Getz/Giblerto version had been released (although that version *had* been recorded by the time of the concert). Pretty cool, eh?

Elsewhere, Willie Bobo and Patato tear it up on the timbales and congas. Like they always do. I hope this whets your appetite for more from the family of Mann as I have quite a bit I’ve been meaning to share someday (including the oddball albums with Sonny Sharrock and Roy Ayers). This 2001 reissue on Wounded Bird has pretty decent sound too.

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  2. Thank you! Totally up for some more Mann 🙂

  3. nice one — don't know how I missed this, given that I scooped so many Mann lp's back when they were all sitting in the bins for a buck or two. Always happy to hear more! Keep 'em coming, and thank you!

  4. Garota de Ipenama was so good, it is sweet. On the first seventeen seconds of Samba De Orfeu, and from there on, the Sambistas playing the music are a very highly skilled group of percussion musician masters. Their time signatures are not of our's in the US, but they fit right in. Yeah they play the standard ballad, but oh my gosh, do they, stretch out.

    Make no mistake, this is some of the baddest music….Obrigado meu irmão Flabbergast. And this is just two songs on the album. The sound quality is amazing. I swear they are jamming so tough that I here hard bop in the music rhythms. A very fon-ky album for 63'. The art work ain't bad either.

  5. thanks jazztech, I'm glad you and others here are liking this album. I'll say it again – Herbie Mann deserves more props and respect. I've been thinking of him as kind of an East Coast counterpart to Cal Tjader, albiet less influential

  6. Hey FGV, a re-up of this Herbie would be much appreciated.

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