256

Benjamin Koppel featuring Phil Woods: Pass The Bebop

By

Sign in to view read count
Benjamin Koppel featuring Phil Woods: Pass The Bebop Danish alto saxophonist Benjamin Koppel has always been inspired by the bebop masters. When altoist Phil Woods was in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2005, Koppel invited the American legend to join him and the Alex Riel Trio in a recording session. Koppel supplied seven original bebop tunes, while Woods selected two standards, "How High The Moon" and "Autumn Leaves," for the session.

Woods just celebrated his 75th birthday. He could very well be the hardest working jazz musician in that age group, and he's certainly still providing the quality recordings that have been his trademark over the past fifty years. His background included studies with Lennie Tristano as well as at the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard School from the late 1940s into the early 1950s, and his resume reads like a who's who of jazz, with names like Claude Thornhill, Buddy Rich, Quincy Jones, Thelonious Monk, Oliver Nelson and the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band.

The above references alone carry Woods through the 1960s. Since that time, he has co-founded bands with Clark Terry and his own European Rhythm Machine and established his own quartet/quintet, which has been playing and recording for over twenty years. Since winning a Grammy in 1977 for The Phil Woods Six Live At the Showboat, the altoist has provided a training ground for musicians like Tom Harrell, Brian Lynch and Bill Charlap, who have gone on to establish their own successful careers.

Pass The Bebop features Mads Vinding, one of the most respected Danish bassists, who has been recording since the mid-1970s. The core trio's leader, Alex Riel, is also a recognized leader as far as jazz drumming is concerned; the Danish musician's history dates back to a mid-'60s recording session with Kenny Drew. He played on Dexter Gordon sessions in Copenhagen during the mid 1970s, including Swiss Nights (three volumes) and Lullaby For A Monster for Steeplechase Records, as well as Jackie McLean's albums for the same label in the early to mid-'70s, such as Live in Monmartre and The Meeting with Dexter Gordon.

The pairing of Phil Woods with another bebop altoist is nothing new. In the most recent example, last year's Bouncing With Bud and Phil, Woods was matched up with hard-blowing bebopper Bud Shank. Benjamin Koppel is a much younger musician (born in 1974) who has achieved a certain assured bebop style, and it is certianly interesting to hear the two altoists in direct contrast.

On the opening "Chess Party," Koppel takes the melody and first solo with a slightly rougher delivery. When he hands off to Woods, the altoist's signature sound shows far more distinctive fluency. On other tracks, the difference between the two is not as distinctive. On the ballad "Mother's Song," both musicians play in a lyrical upper register. On the bebop standard "How High the Moon," Woods takes the melody and Koppel plays counterpoint; the direct contrast is interesting.

Chalk up another successful musical meeting for visiting gunslinger Phil Woods!


Track Listing: Chess Party; Mother's Song; 36-13 (A Bop Result); How High The Moon; Pass The Bebop; K.O.(I'm Fishing In The Seine); Autumn Leaves; Before The Concert; Razorbill Relaxin'.

Personnel: Benjamin Koppel, Phil Woods: alto saxophone; Heine Hansen: piano; Mads Vinding: bass; Alex Riel: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Cowbell Music | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Unfolding In Tempo" CD/LP/Track Review Unfolding In Tempo
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979" CD/LP/Track Review No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979
by John Sharpe
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Boss Tenor" CD/LP/Track Review Boss Tenor
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Back Home" CD/LP/Track Review Back Home
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!