Cultural Percussionist

Herbie Mann

Herbert Jay Solomon (April 16, 1930 – July 1, 2003), known by his stage name Herbie Mann, was an American jazz flutist and important early practitioner of world music. Early in his career, he also played tenor saxophone and clarinet (including bass clarinet), but Mann was among the first jazz musicians to specialize on the flute. His most popular single was “Hijack“, which was a Billboard No. 1 dance hit for three weeks in 1975.

Mann emphasized the groove approach in his music. Mann felt that from his repertoire, the “epitome of a groove record” was Memphis Undergroundor Push Push, because the “rhythm section locked all in one perception.”

Herbie Mann was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish parents, Harry C. Solomon (May 30, 1902 – May 31, 1980), who was of Russian descent, and Ruth Rose Solomon (née Brecher) (July 4, 1905 – November 11, 2004), of Romanian descent who was born in Bukovina, Austria-Hungary but immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 6. Both of his parents were dancers and singers, as well as dance instructors later in life. He attended Lincoln High School in Brighton Beach. His first professional performance was playing the Catskills resorts at age 15. In the 1950s Mann was primarily a bop flutist, playing in combos with artists such as Phil Woods, occasionally playing bass clarinet, tenor saxophone and solo flute.

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