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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil Woods & the Festival Orchestra: New Celebration

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Any album with the renowned Phil Woods leading a big band (or jazz orchestra) is cause for celebration, especially so when he has written all but one of the charts and takes the bulk of the alto solos. More than fifteen years have passed since Woods last recorded with the COTA Festival Orchestra from his home precinct in Delaware Gap, PA, and that earlier album (Celebration!, Concord 4770) was nominated for a Grammy Award. This New Celebration, Woods' second recording for Chiaroscuro, deserves no less, as it swings and sparkles from stem to stern and port to starboard, driven ever ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil Woods: Right To Swing

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Alto saxophonist great Phil Woods and trumpeter/educator Dr. Bob Lark have a long history of recording together producing notable outings like Live at the Jazz Showcase (Jazzed Media, 2009) and In Her Eyes (Jazzed Media, 2006)--both with The Bob Lark / Phil Woods Quintet. The saxophonist association with Lark and the DePaul University bands has also resulted in three previous albums all with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble. Right To Swing is now their fourth album together combining performances from the University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Lark as well as featuring the Phil Woods Ensemble at DePaul University, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Greg Abate Quartet Featuring Phil Woods: The Greg Abate Quintet Featuring Phil Woods

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Led by reed man, educator and Conn-Selmer clinician Greg Abate, The Greg Abate Quintet Featuring Phil Woods documents an electrifying set of bebop, straight-ahead and Latin styles featuring legendary alto saxophonist Phil Woods as its marquee player. The quintet burns through an exciting ten-piece repertoire of Abate originals complimented by contributions from both Woods and pianist John Patrick. Abate, like Woods, is known for his mastery of the alto, but on this date his superb talents on the baritone, soprano and flute are also on display.There's plenty of fire on this project, starting with the brisk bebop groove ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil Woods and Bill Mays: Woods & Mays

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Putting two musicians of this caliber in a room and recording the results is a surefire recipe for success. Pianist Bill Mays and saxophone icon Phil Woods have little to prove at this point in their respective careers and their music isn't about defying expectations. Both men, on the contrary, carry the reputations that they do because they live up to the very expectations that surround them. On this duo set, Woods and Mays engage in classy conversation that flow like fine wine at a dinner party, and they build their music on a foundation of mutual respect and musical ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Grace Kelly / Phil Woods: Man With the Hat

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Jazz veteran Phil Woods carries the alto sax torch from Charlie Parker, following in the footsteps of Art Pepper, Cannonball Adderley and Lee Konitz. Now he bestows the honor on 18-year-old altoist/vocalist Grace Kelly, its light shining on Man With A Hat. Woods, 80, with over a half-century of playing, first met Kelly in 2006 when she was 14 and attending the Stanford Jazz Residency Program in California, where Woods was an instructor. He encouraged her and, a few months later, they were reunited at a Woods gig in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. When he invited her onstage, he ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Phil Woods: Philology

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When pianist Jim McNeely replaced Hal Galper in the Phil Woods Quintet in 1990 it was the current winner--repeating in 1991--of the Downbeat Readers Poll as top jazz small group. But, as McNeely remembers, his first days with the alto saxophonist's band included a benefit concert for the local volunteer fire department in Delaware Water Gap, Penn. (where Woods has lived since 1974), a cancelled jazz club gig and playing at the wedding of Woods' friend. “Well," Woods told McNeely afterwards, “we've had a freebie, a cancelled gig and a wedding. Welcome to the Number One jazz band."

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bob Lark / Phil Woods Quintet: Live at the Jazz Showcase

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The order of names on this superb in-concert CD could have gone either way. On the one hand, four-fifths of the quintet is actually the Phil Woods Quartet; on the other, trumpeter Bob Lark, who shares the front line for a second time with alto saxophonist Woods (their 2006 collaboration for Jazzed Media was In Her Eyes), wrote the first three of the album's seven selections, which clearly gives him a leg up. Maybe in the end they flipped a coin, or played rock-paper-scissors, and when neither of those ventures worked as planned, decided to align themselves in alphabetical order. ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Phil Woods: Ballads & Blues, Live at the Jazz Showcase, The Children's Suite

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Phil Woods Quintet Ballads & Blues Venus Records 2009 The Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet Live at the Jazz Showcase Jazzed Media 2009 Phil Woods The Children's Suite Jazzed Media 2009 Alto saxophonist Phil Woods is a consummate musician whose mastery of improvisation is second to none. He extends from the holy alto trinity--Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker--and has carved a distinctive, influential style. If Paul ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil Woods: The Children's Suite

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Well of course. NEA Jazz Master Phil Woods' The Children's Suite, inspired by the verses of A.A. Milne. Woods has been widely and wildly prolific throughout his career since his early small group days as a teenager, blowing ebulliently with Jimmy Raney and George Wallington, so it should be no surprise that he's created musical settings for these beloved poems from Now We Are Six, featuring Christopher Robin and his imaginary friend Pooh. Along with an industrial-strength orchestra, he's joined by two vocalists, jazz great Bob Doroughand Vicki Doney, as well as actor Peter Dennis, the latter being the only ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet: Live at the Jazz Showcase

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Trumpeter and educator Dr. Bob Lark, who directs the DePaul University Jazz ensemble, has had a long musical association with the great alto saxophone master Phil Woods. This resulted in several performances and recordings with both the University Ensemble and their own working quintet. In May of 2006, Woods came to Chicago to celebrate the release of the first Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet album In Her Eyes (Jazzed Media 2006). Woods also completed a weekend gig at Chicago's world famous Jazz Showcase where along with Lark (who here performs on the flugelhorn), Jim McNeely (long-time pianist for Woods), bassist Steve ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Phil Woods: American Songbook II & Swingchronicity

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Phil Woods American Songbook II Kind of Blue 2007 Phil Woods / DePaul University Jazz Ensemble Swingchronicity Jazzed Media 2007

More than other surviving members of the jazz generation that emerged during the primacy of bebop, alto saxophonist Phil Woods reflects the boppers' love of melody. That side of Bird, who enjoyed Gershwin, Porter and Kern as much as creating baroque façades on “I Got Rhythm" changes, echoes in Woods' approach ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil Woods / DePaul University Jazz Ensemble: Swingchronicity

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Not your average university jazz band or your typical recording of oft-heard standards, Swingchronicity represents a musical collaboration between one of the finest university jazz bands in the country and a jazz legend. Under the direction of Bob Lark, trumpeter and Director of Jazz Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble is heard live at Chicago's Jazz Showcase with special guest, world-renowned alto great Phil Woods.

Producing an unbelievable sound for a college level group, one gets the sense that you've just heard from the up-and-coming jazz starts of the future. Woods' brilliance is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil Woods / DePaul University Jazz Ensemble: Swingchronicity

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Nothing is perfect, so the saying goes, and thus it follows that one can, in theory, always find something to disparage or take issue with in any work of art or piece of music. While that may be true, on a scale of one to ten, Swingchronicity warrants at least an eleven. This is, after all, Phil Woods, one of the world's greatest living jazz musicians, weaving his incomparable magic in a breathtaking concert performance at Chicago's Jazz Showcase with one of the country's most honored undergraduate groups, the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, a tasteful and dynamic recital that is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Benjamin Koppel featuring Phil Woods and the Alex Riel Trio: Pass the Bebop

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Even though Phil Woods jokes at every opportunity that, “Emphysema is nature's way of telling you that you're playing too fast, the alto saxophonist still brings a special touch to any recording date, as he remains one of the most inventive improvisers on his instrument with a sound that is always recognizable within a few seconds. Woods is also no stranger to playing in small groups with a second altoist, having recorded a number of sessions with Gene Quill and Lee Konitz, taking part in various alto summit recordings with several fellow players and appearing on Bud Shank's Bouncing with ...



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