Tribute to Herb

On Tuesday, November 12, 2012 — 11/12/13 if you are counting — I snuck out of the house and motored over to Paly High to check out Herb Wong’s Adult School class on Woody Herman. Although I contemplated flashing my “junior historian” credential and asking to sit in for a class or part of a class, I erred on the side of caution and “the observer effect” by peering in briefly, unobserved, like a jazz peeping tom, thru the window of the portable classroom to verify that yes the legend endures. I stayed for about three bars of what I vouchsafe was “the Four Brothers”, nodding yes while those inside nodded along. Not quite gonzo journalism, but worth the short trip. I helped myself to a second bowl of pancit — still warm! — and then settled in to watch JFK on the telly. (Is this where I admit that not only had I heard of Dave Ellis before Steve Turre, but that even today I am almost mixing up Woody Herman, Woody Shaw and Artie Shaw? And yet I insist on wanting to add Maxwell Davis to my saxophone pantheon..)

Part iii: “Broad City” was in Times today and on Terry Gross, plus Terry my Terry heard parts of it this a.m., on Comedy Central, which we will probably scope out, after the Warriors game (my call) and Idol (her call). I like them a lot better than “Girls”.

A better tribute to Herb Wong is by PAJA on Sunday, Jan. 25, the evening of the day that Akira Tana and I host a talk about history of jazz (and I had envisioned Herb as a panelist).

Sunday, January 25, 7pm
In tribute to Dr. Herb Wong

Menlo-Atherton High School’s Center for the Performing Arts
         555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

Woody, of course, is no longer with us, but a group of alumni all-stars, led by Frank Tiberi, continues to carry the torch and keep those great Herd charts alive.  This is a rare Bay Area appearance for the WHO. Dr. Herb Wong had a special bond with Woody Herman, and Marilyn Wong conceived this concert as a final tribute to Herb.  Please join us at this beautiful 492 seat concert hall, an easy drive from anywhere in the mid-Peninsula.

Tickets are $40 general admission, $35 PAJA members, $15 students. Mail order tix now available from PA Tickets, c/o Fox, 294 Tennessee Lane, Palo Alto 94306. Enclose personal check and self-addressed stamped envelope. Or  pick them up at

and, from nearly ten years prior:
The Palo Alto Jazz Alliance will present “A Tribute to Woody Herman” on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Canada College’s Main Theatre, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd. in Redwood City. The evening will feature the Woody Herman Alumni All-Stars, led by Frank Tiberi. The West Coast premiere of the documentary film, “Autumn Eve — A Tribute to Woody Herman,” will also take place. The film, shot at Herman’s grave in Hollywood Forever Cemetary, will be released in October.

Tickets are $30 general; $25 for Palo Alto Jazz Alliance members and $20 students. Proceeds will benefit the Palo Alto Jazz Alliance Education Fund. For more information please call (650) 345-9XY3.

an earlier version of this had an account of a conversation I had today with a man who claimed to working on a recording with the Paly arts department.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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