This highly successful blowing session works because of overlapping links among players and material. Bassist Teddy Kotick and drummer Nick Stabulas were frequent partners, in the groups of leader Phil Woods and others. Kotick and pianist Red Garland also had working experience with Charlie Parker, whose compositions are heard here as well as those of Woods, who then and now was one of Jazz’s leading Parkerites.
Verve 60th Anniversary Rare Albums SHM-CD Reissue Series. Reissue with SHM-CD format. Hip and groovy work from Phil – very different than both his earlier bop-heavy sides, and his freer European recordings – recorded with some great backings by Johnny Pate, the excellent Chicago soul arranger who also did some great soundtrack work! Pate's come up with some tight short tracks that have a nice groovy late 60s Verve feel – over which Woods solos angularly on alto, working amidst woodwinds by Jerome Richardson and Jerry Dodgion, piano by Herbie Hancock, trumpet by Thad Jones, and some light strings that trickle in and out from time to time.
After several years of few recordings, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers re-emerged with totally new personnel on this Prestige LP. The strongest performance is a quartet feature for the great trumpeter Woody Shaw on "I Can't Get Started," but the other three selections (which include such musicians as George Cables or John Hicks on keyboards, bassist Stanley Clarke and Ramon Morris on reeds) are also worth hearing and sound surprisingly "contemporary" for the time. An interesting set.
Mosaic's limited-edition, five-disc box Phil Woods Quartet/Quintet 20th Anniversary Set is a treasure trove for hardcore fans of the alto saxophonist. All the material on this set is previously unreleased; Woods has been saving this material for 20 years and decided to license the tapes to Mosaic to celebrate his band's 20th anniversary. Much of this music is dynamic and exciting, and it will certainly be a welcome addition to the collection of any serious Woods fan.
Pianist Red Garland recorded frequently with trios for Prestige during the second half of the 1950s. For this set (reissued on CD), Garland, bassist George Joyner and drummer Charlie Persip are joined by Ray Barretto on congas and the emphasis is on forceful swinging. Garland takes such ballads as "We Kiss in a Shadow" and "You Better Go Now" at faster-than-expected tempos. "Ralph J. Gleason Blues" and the Latin feel of "Rojo" are among the highlights of this enjoyable disc.
This long-out-of-print CD has finally been reissued and it's a must-have for Phil Woods fans, or for anyone interested in an excellent example of post-Parker be-bop saxophone. The sound quality is excellent, the rhythm section is very competent and Phil is at the top of his game on a nice mix of standards and originals. It's easy to see why he has been the benchmark for jazz alto for decades. His swing and inventiveness are nicely showcased as he eases his way through the list of tunes. If one were to buy one or two CD's that best show Phil Woods' ability to create meaningful jazz, this one would have to be high on the list for consideration. Don't miss it!