Tony Woods is a British multi-reed player who heads this ensemble. Lowlands is inspired by the folk melodies of Great Britain and the world. With the exception of two traditional songs, a sea chanty and a folk tune, the other seven compositions are from the pen of Woods.
The Tony Woods Project seems most to resemble the Gary Burton Group of some twenty years ago in that the instrumental makeup of the ensemble (rhythm section plus vibes, guitar and sax) is reminiscent of the Burton ECM recordings which featured such players as Pat Metheny, Jim Odgren and perhaps a visiting Jan Garbarek. Woods begins the album with a solo sax reading of the title tune, a traditional British sea chanty, creating the impression that this session will be a reflective series of compositions, which is definitely not the case.
I would estimate that, on approximately 50% of this album, the Project strikes the right combination to approximate the mood of the Burton recordings as typified by "Breakthrough" which features Robert Millet's incisive vibes work. On other tracks, like the twelve minute "Penny's Whistle," Woods begins with what sounds like a Native American flute (we learn that it is a fife) and channels what sounds like a New Age composition. When the ensemble joins in, the tune morphs into what sounds like Indian raga music, and the final segment has a distinct Caribbean flavor with Millet switching to marimba. Other compositions are around the eight minute mark and allow for frequent stretching out by the musicians on solo time, and there seems to be a fair amount of interactivity among the players.
Track Listing: Lowlands, Breakthrough, Presence at Christmas, Penny's Whistle, Prayer, Country Dance, Rollo's Monkey, Old Joe Clark, Chocolat.
Personnel: Tony Woods,saxes,flutes; Mike Outram,electric and acoustic guitars; Rob Millet,vibraphone, marimba, dulcimer; Andy Hamill,bass; Milo Fell,drums,percussion.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.