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.
In 1970, when Inner City Records was just getting off the ground, Phil Woods was in Europe enjoying himself, and collaborating with musicians who were definitely feeling the spell of the Miles Davis groundbreaking jazz fusion epic Bitches Brew. While always a staunch straight-ahead bebop player, Woods decided to mix it up a bit and incorporate elements of funk, rock, and free improvisation, much to the likely chagrin of his listeners. In fact, a vitriolic letter printed on the back cover from an unidentified fan residing in Chicopee Falls, MA, rips Woods for abandoning melody, criticizes his titles, and actually threatens him with physical violence should he ever show up in his town.
This was one of the great touring and recording bands of the 1980s, Harrell and Woods inspiring each other and the rhythm section inquiring and swinging. Woods didn't need to change anything about his own style, but it blossoms anew in counterpoint with Harrell's lyrical fire, and each album is handsomely programmed and delivered … Flash, the final album with Harrell (who has since been replaced by Hal Crook as the front-line horn), has the edge of some outstanding composing by the trumpeter – "Weaver" and "Rado" are particularly sound vehicles – and Crook's extra tones on a few tracks.