Meet Phil Woods
I go back over to Europe doing the Bird with Strings in Copenhagen and Zurich and a few other towns. I'm going to Paris and record with Michel Legrand in a movie score. I'm going out with George Robert, a wonderful Swiss saxophonist. We're doing a tour of Europe. I wind up in North Sea with Bird with Strings.
Satchmo Blows up the World by Penny Von Eschen/world music
It talks about Willis Conover, the State Department tours when they sent Dizzy, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman. The world loved them. I was part of the first Dizzy Gillespie tour of the Mideast, the one Quincy Jones put together. Our first port of call was Abadan, Iran. That was better than now when we send guys with guns. It's strange how bad times present great music to the worldthe second World War and the Cold War. Willis Conover would broadcast to the Iron Curtain countries, and he would broadcast jazz. Jazz became the music of freedom and responsibility. We traveled in South America. In the front row were Jobim and Elis Regina and Joao Gilberto. When we traveled in Argentina there was Astor Piazzolla and Lalo Schifrin. They all learned from Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong who were the fathers of world music. Jazz fits in very well with other cultures. There are guys in Japan who can blow us all away. It means a lot to the rest of the world, more than it does to Americans.
Autobiography, Life in E Flat
My book is coming out this year. I was an English lit. major. I'm a good writer, poetry, painting, all that sort of stuff. Scarecrow Press as we speak is editing it. It should come out in another six months. I've been working on it 30-40 years. I keep a weekly journal. It's got a lot of good stuff: the early Springfield [Mass.] days with Sal Salvador·we were kids together, the early New York days when I went to Julliard and played with Charlie Parker, living in Brooklyn where I hung out with Herbie Mann, with Benny Goodman in Russia in '62, touring with my quintet. It's my life, the real thing.
Consistency, be a good player, be in tune, be able to phrase. The guys have to know what you're going to do. It can be boring. It's a lot harder to improvise than it is to be a lead alto player. Gene Quill and I got our starts being lead alto players when the music changed after the second World War. The Bill Pottses of the world, the composers, needed a new style of phrasing and music. Mulligan and John Carisi and Gil Evans. There was no longer a lot of vibrato and all that. The young guys had a new way of playing lead alto. It was more a stylized kind of thing as the music developed. Bebop was the new thing, Claude Thornhill's band.
Records with Thelonious Monk: Town Hall Concert (1959) and Big Band and Quartet in Concert (1963)
I loved working with Monk. That Town Hall concert was a magic night. I wish we had worked more together. Don't leave out Hall Overton who orchestrated the music and rehearsed the band. I knew Hall from when he was teaching at Julliard. I met him as a kid. I performed to the satisfaction of Mr. Monk because I knew what he was about musically or at least I came as close as I could.
I've done a lot of college dates. I'll be up in Chambersburg tomorrow, and I'm going to the University of Maryland on Sunday. I just came from the University of Texas and DePaul University. I do residences all over the world.
Soon to be released
The Unheard Herd from Jazzed Media: Woody Herman Second Herd songs that you don't hear that much like "Man, Don't Be Ridiculous," and "Boomsie". There is an unreleased Gerry Mulligan chart of "Yardbird Suite." That'll be out any minute. It's a West Coast band, pretty much the same guys as the Marty Paich [Groovin' with Marty] which came out kind of nice. They were both done at the same concert with The Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra. Bouncing with Bud and Phil [quintet with Bud Shank] just came out. Bud wrote a couple of compositions. I wrote one or two. It's got bebop tunes, a lot of Latin, a lovely George Cables fusion piece. Rhythmically it's very interesting. I just did a record with Bill Charlap, Frank, Wess, Terence Blanchard and Slide Hampton. It's all Gershwin. I eventually want to record the Bird with Strings music.
Visit Phil Woods on the web.