What can I say about Herbie Mann without sounding clichéd? He was the man of the jazz flute. I first heard Herbie Mann when I was a young flute student about age 11. My mother knew I had an interest in jazz so she asked my flute teacher, Fredrick Baker (long-time principal flutist with the San Diego Symphony), where I should be pointed. After assigning me to work on the classic "Tico Tico," he said one name, "Herbie Mann" (perhaps because Mann was really the person that brought the flute into the jazz world...among other very important things that Herbie introduced to the US musical scene).
Herbie was originally a saxophonist, as are many on this list - and some remain as doublers to this day. As a matter of fact, I took up saxophone in college as well so saxophone was part of my world though I came to it via the opposite route from Mann, Wess, Shank, et al.
So, my mother went and bought me Mann's Memphis Underground. It just blew me out of the water. Who knew that "Battle Hymn of the Republic" could have so much soul played on the flute...the Hammond B3 in the background didn't hurt. I think I played that LP until it became a slinky! While on a high school trip to Hawaii in 1974 I came upon the London Underground album and again was amazed by Herbie's jazz take on the Rolling Stones' tune "Bitch."
Every album over the years has had something important to say. I've never been disappointed in his work. I was so saddened to hear of his passing due to cancer in 2003. What a monumental loss. At risk of giving into the cliché - Herbie was THE MAN(N) of jazz flute. He is sorely missed.
Oh...and if you're male and over forty you should get your PSA checked annually...check out Herbie's site on prostate cancer.
..::>> click here <<::..