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.
Phil Woods is right at home during these 2002 sessions at Red Rock Recording Studio near his home in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. With his regular group (Bill Charlap, Steve Gilmore, and Bill Goodwin) minus trumpeter Brian Lynch, Woods adds strings conducted by his old friend Eric Doney on this collection of ballads. "And When We're Young" is the alto saxophonist's tribute to the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated around the time it was written. The leader's lush alto gives way to a brisk Latin-flavored passage featuring powerful solos by violinist Andy Stein and Charlap on piano, while Woods humorously detours into "Nature Boy" upon his return. The strings introduce a lively arrangement of "It Never Entered My Mind," and another favorite of the alto saxophonist, "If I Should Lose You." Unlike many jazz recordings with strings, they complement rather than overwhelm the musicians. But it is almost impossible for a Phil Woods-led date to turn out less than excellent.
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.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. Dizzy Gillespie meets the Phil Woods Quintet – a group that already has a great trumpeter in the form of Tom Harrell – which makes the album here a double-horn delight! Dizzy's on trumpet throughout, and Harrell plays both trumpet and flugelhorn – and the pair work well with Woods' alto in the front line, sharing back and forth, and creating a lively interplay between the different voices of their instruments. Dizzy is impeccable – as he always is at this point in his career – and rhythms are nice and tight, thanks to piano from Hal Galper, bass from Steve Gilmore, and drums from Bill Goodwin. Titles include a great reading of Galper's Loose Change" – plus "Terrestris", "Love For Sale", "Oon Ga Wa", and "Whasidishean".
Other than an album for the Italian Red label the previous March, this CD from the defunct Black-Hawk label was the first to feature trumpeter Tom Harrell with the Phil Woods Quintet. At this point in time, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin had been with the band since its beginning 12 years before, while pianist Hal Galper was a five-year veteran. The repertoire on the set is quite strong, with a pair of less-played Duke Ellington pieces (the beautiful "Heaven" and "Azure") being performed along with Dave Brubeck's "The Duke," Sam Rivers' "222," the standard "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and Harrell's "Occurrence." Phil Woods sounds quite inspired throughout the date by Harrell's presence, giving him another horn to work off of.
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.