171

The SWR Big Band with Phil Woods: Jazz Matinee

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Phil Woods has been such an imposing presence on the Jazz scene for so many years that one hesitates to say he is now at the height of his creative powers — but it is hard to imagine him playing any better than he does on this marvelous concert date recorded a scant five years ago with Germany’s world–class SWR Big Band. Besides giving an alto saxophone clinic on eight of the nine selections and playing clarinet on the other (“Sweet Lorraine”), Woods composed seven of the songs, all of which the SWRBB enunciates as if they’d been written in its native tongue. Completing the program is a snappy rendition of Ann Ronell’s well–known standard, “Willow Weep for Me,” on which Phil’s caustic alto shares center stage with Karl Farrent’s lissome trumpet. This consistently pleasurable performance is remindful of another of my cherished albums, Boss Brass and Woods, wherein Phil is paired with valve tombonist Rob McConnell’s stylish Canadian ensemble. Although the SWR uses no French horns, it is in no respect overshadowed by its Canadian counterpart — nor by any other big band, for that matter. As for Woods, he’s in superior form on both dates, making it all but impossible to choose between them. Luckily, we don’t have to, as both are safeguarded on disc for the foreseeable future. Good as BB&W is, Jazz Matinee may be even better, thanks in part to Woods’ radiant compositions — the boldly swinging “Serpent’s Tooth,” the buttery–smooth “My Man Benny” (for Benny Carter), the impassioned “Quill” (for longtime sidekick and fellow alto master Gene Quill), the mellow “Alvin G.” (for tenor man Al Cohn), the light–hearted “Reet’s Neet” (inscribed for Rita Goodwin, the ex–wife of Phil’s drummer, Bill Goodwin) and the no–holds–barred closing theme, “How’s Your Mama?” Besides Farrent, who’s also heard on “Serpent’s Tooth,” “Reet’s Neet” and “Mama,” the SWR’s resourceful soloists include pianist Klaus Wagenleiter, altos Klaus Graf and Bernd Rabe, tenor Peter Weniger, drummer Jörg Gebhardt and bassist Henning Sieverts. We're only three months into 2001, and already it looks to be another banner year for big bands, foreign and domestic. Here's another treasure to add to the storehouse.

Contact:Hänssler Classic, P.O. Box D-71087, Holzerlingen, Germany; www.haenssler–classic.de; e–mail classic@haenssler.de


Track Listing: Serpent

Personnel: Bernd Rabe, Axel Kuhn, alto sax; Peter Weniger, Andreas Maile, tenor sax; Reiner Heute, baritone sax; Thomas Vogel, Lubomir Rezanina, Karl Farrent, Rudolf Reindl, trumpet; Ernst Hutter, Ludwig Nuss, Ian Cumming, Georg Maus, trombone; Klaus Wagenleiter, piano; Henning Sieverts, bass; J

Title: Jazz Matinee | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Faszination Musik


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Saluting Sgt. Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "A Multitude of Angels" CD/LP/Track Review A Multitude of Angels
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Journey To The Mountain Of Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Journey To The Mountain Of Forever
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "The Space Between" CD/LP/Track Review The Space Between
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 15, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.