On Bouncing With Bud And Phil, Bud Shank, once the epitome of West Coast cool, teams up with Phil Woods for an outstanding program of fiery, heartfelt bebop. Both saxophonists are now in their seventies, but neither shows any sign of slowing down. Their playing is warm and inspired, bursting with energy and swing.
There isn't a dull moment anywhere on this album. "Minority," for example, is a master class in bebop, full of joyous, unfettered cooking by the horns, with the added bonus of a fine piano solo by Mike Wofford. "Gemma's Eyes" is a lovely waltz by pianist Bill Mays, graced by lyrical yet adventurous improvising by Shank and Woods. "Nature Boy" is a vigorous feature for Shank's probing alto, while Woods caresses the Benny Carter composition "Summer Serenade."
Shank's playing is exploratory and creative throughout. He uses space and silence thoughtfully and unpredictably, and he is apt to use post bop devices like sudden flurries of notes or extended harmonies, and it's all in the context of swinging hard. Phil Woods, of course, should need no introduction. Suffice it to say that on this recording, he's at the top of his game. Among other things, both saxophonists sound like they're having fun.
One of the many virtues of this album is the playing of Mike Wofford, who is both a sparkling soloist and an ideal accompanist. His rich chording clearly inspires the saxophonists. Together, Wofford, bassist Bob Magnusson, and drummer Bill Goodwin form a stellar, sure-footed rhythm section. They swing hard and they swing gracefully. Bouncing With Bud & Phil is one of the best albums yet of 2005.