Frank Tiberi, who celebrates his 95th birthday today, is renowned for his extraordinary leadership of the Woody Herman Orchestra, a role he assumed in 1987 following the illness and subsequent passing of Woody Herman himself. His tenure as the leader of this iconic jazz ensemble has been marked by a commitment to preserving the legacy of Woody Herman while also infusing the orchestra with his own unique musical vision.
Tiberi’s appointment as the orchestra’s leader was a direct decision by Woody Herman. Recognizing Tiberi’s deep understanding of the music and the band’s dynamics, Herman remarked, “Frank Tiberi is thoroughly familiar with the music and how the band should feel playing it,” highlighting the respect and trust he had in Tiberi’s abilities. Tiberi himself has always emphasized that “the leader of this band will always be Woody Herman,” reflecting his humility and reverence for Herman’s legacy.
Under Tiberi’s direction, the Woody Herman Orchestra has continued to thrive, maintaining the energy, spirit, and swing that were hallmarks of Herman’s era. The orchestra, often referred to as “The Herd,” has been lauded for its youthful vitality and versatility, adeptly blending classics from the Herman bands of the past with new charts arranged to suit the band’s exuberant, hard-swinging style. This approach ensures that the orchestra’s performances are not only entertaining but also true to the evolving nature of jazz music.
Critics have universally agreed that under Tiberi’s leadership, the orchestra has lived up to Herman’s legendary status. The orchestra, traveling with a repertoire of about 100 arrangements, continues to delight audiences globally, showcasing a sizzling array of historical and classic arrangements, including hits like “Four Brothers” and “Early Autumn“.
Frank Tiberi’s leadership of the Woody Herman Orchestra stands as a testament to his dedication to jazz and his ability to keep the spirit of one of the most influential jazz ensembles alive and vibrant. His tenure has ensured that the orchestra remains a significant and dynamic force in the world of jazz, continuing to win critical acclaim and attract new generations of fans.