Press Releases

Purchase Jazz Orchestra to Perform with Alumni of the Woody Herman Orchestra December 4

Date Released: 11/19/2008

The Purchase Jazz Orchestra, directed by Todd Coolman, will explore the varied repertoire of jazz legend Woody Herman while being accompanied by three alumni of the Woody Herman Orchestra in a concert titled "The Thundering Herds of Woody Herman."  Trombonist John Fedchock, drummer John Riley, and saxophonist Ralph Lalama will be joining the Purchase Jazz Orchestra for the performance. The show begins at 7:30PM in the Performing Arts Center on Thursday, December 4. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Box Office (914-251-6200) or at

Woody Herman was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1913. As a child, he was a vaudeville performer and by the age of 15, was a professional saxophonist. Over the years, he was a member of many bands, but it was his time with Isham Jones that led him to lead his own band. Herman founded The Band That Plays The Blues and The First Herd, as well as others including The Second Herd, Third Herd, and The Thundering Herd, which was a unit from 1959-1987. The music of this extremely influential group will be explored at this concert. In 1987, Herman was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the same year he passed away at the age of 74.

Todd Coolman, director of the Jazz Studies program at the Purchase College School of the Arts, Conservatory of Music, is one of the more in-demand bassists on the New York jazz scene today. He has performed and/or recorded with a virtual "who’s who" of jazz artists, including Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Tommy Flanagan, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman and numerous others. Today, he is actively performing with an impressive array of artists, including James Moody, Ahmad Jamal, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess and the Jon Faddis Orchestra.