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Herbie Fields

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587px-Herbie_Fields,_ca__Feb__1947_(William_P__Gottlieb)

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Herbie Fields (Asbury Park, New Jersey, May 24, 1919 – September 17, 1958, Miami, Florida) was an American jazz saxophonist.

He attended New York’s famed Juilliard School of Music (1936–1938) and served in the U.S. Army from 1941–1943.
Fields began recording in 1944 with two sides for Bob Thiele’s Signature label. Over the next year and a half he recorded for Savoy; notably, he shared a date with Rubberlegs Williams that featured teenaged Miles Davis’ recording debut. Fields replaced Earl Bostic, as alto saxophonist in Lionel Hampton’s band. Fields was fluent in a variety of reed instruments, from clarinet to baritone saxophone. In 1945, he won Esquire magazine’s New Star Award on the Alto Sax. In 1946, RCA Victor signed Fields as leader of his own big band, a format that was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain in the Post-War period.

Neal Hefti was one of his sidemen along with Bill Evans, Eddie Bert, Bernie Glow, Manny Albam, Al Klink (formally with Glenn Miller), Marty Napoleon and Serge Chaloff. “Dardanella” was his biggest hit. The band was a commercial failure—as were many big bands of the day.

In 1949-1950, he formed his Septet featuring Frank Rosolino on trombone, Jimmy Nottingham on trumpet, Jim Aton on bass, Bill Evans on piano and Tiny Kahn on drums. The band was based in Chicago and backed numerous stage shows, and frequently had Lurlean Hunter on vocals. In the summer of 1950 Fields’ group accompanied Billie Holiday on a successful three-month tour of East Coast venues, including the Apollo Theater in Harlem and the Howard Theater in Washington.

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