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Sunday, October 10, 2021

Fields In Clover - Herbie Fields



Fields In Clover
Herbie Fields with His Sextet and Orchestra
Arrangements by Lon Norman
Cover Photograph and Design by Burt Goldblatt
Engineer: Mark Emerman
Recorded at Criteria Recording Company, Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Florida
Fraternity Records - Cincinnati, Ohio

From the back cover: Herbie Fields, 39 years old when he recorded the extra ordinary "Fields In Clover", was wholly absorbed by music from the time he was a kid in New Jersey. At 15 he was playing his first night club date, in a break-your-head joint, when his father and uncle fetched him by the ear right off the stage.

Herbie once told me he had to fake his way into Juilliard School of Music, because he wanted to play saxophone and it wasn't "a recognized instrument." He claimed he was a clarinet player, just to be admitted, but eventually had to learn that instrument in truth. His fingering was all wrong, according to the book, so he eventually started playing notes that weren't there. He was graduated in 1938.

As long ago as 1946-47 Herbie Fields had reached the hollow heights of "pop" success. He received the Metronome Award and the Esquire Silver Award as the nation's top saxophone player.

For the first time he seemed really happy while making this album. All his life, he told me, he had hoped to lift jazz, which he loved, to what he called, for lack of a better word, a "symphonic" level. He wasn't the first jazzman to try. The genius Bix Beiderbecke and others were broken by the effort, and lost. Personally, I think Herbie Fields "made it" – and with an "illegitimate instrument' at that.

I thought Herbie Fields, judged by classical experts, belonged first in Carnegie Hall, then on tour in Europe, where the audiences appreciated greatness in music when they heard it. Herbie's long time agent, Joe Glaser, said he'd book him as soon as the public had heard "Fields In Clover".

Suddenly, September 17, 1958, Herbie Fields cut out from this life at his new home in the north of Date (Miami) County, Florida. He left by choice, saying in a note to his mother: "I have completed my mission in life." – Damon Runyon, Jr.

From Billboard - September 14, 1959: This is the last recording work ever done by saxophonist Herbie Fields. Here, he is heard again for posterity on soprano alto, tenor and baritone sax on a collection of numbers, including "Skylark," "Deep Purple," "Harlem Nocturne" and others. He was a dexterous artist with all four of the instruments as these good recordings – made in Miami – shoe. For fans of the reeds, this can be regraded as a sort of collector's item.

Roses Of Picardy 
Danny Boy
Prelude To a Kiss
Deep Purple
Come Back To Sorrento
Harlem Nocturne
Serenade In Blue
Blue Prelude

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