Four Brothers (jazz standard)

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For the film, see Four Brothers (film).

"Four Brothers" (1947) is a jazz standard composed by Jimmy Giuffre and performed by the Woody Herman Orchestra.[1]:336[2]

The song features four saxes (three tenors and one baritone) in an arrangement that gives each "brother" a solo and culminates in a hard-swinging sax section chorus.

The song so typifies the sound of Woody Herman's second "Herd" that the band is also known as the Four Brothers Band.[1]:336[2] The title also refers to the four musicians that played in the original version: Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Herbie Steward, and Serge Chaloff.[1]:336[2] All four played in a light-vibrato style that was originated by Lester Young of the Count Basie Orchestra and popularized by Stan Getz.

An a cappella rendition with full lyrics was recorded by Realtime as the title track of a 2004 CD. A vocal version was also released by The Manhattan Transfer on their 1978 album Pastiche. This version was based on the arrangement that Lambert, Hendricks and Ross used in the 1950s. Marian McPartland also recorded a live version on piano in 1959.

Anita O'Day recorded scat versions of "Four Brothers" in the 1950s and 1960s, in which she took the place of one of the four saxophone players and scatted with the other three. The King Sisters, also in the 1950s and 1960s, had a version of "Four Brothers."


  1. ^ a b c d Wynn, Ron (1994), Ron Wynn, ed., All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, ISBN 0-87930-308-5 
  2. ^ a b c d Tanner, Paul O. W.; Maurice Gerow; David W. Megill (1988) [1964]. "Cool (1949-1955)". Jazz (6th ed.). Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown, College Division. pp. 103–111. ISBN 0-697-03663-4. 

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