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Phil Woods: A Life in E Flat

Jim Santella By

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Phil Woods
A Life in E Flat
Jazzed Media

Intertwined with a one-hour documentary about the life of Phil Woods in his own words comes a musical collage of shorts from the making of his recent album, This is How I Feel About Quincy.

We learn about the staunch character that has driven this artist from his 12-year-old start on the alto saxophone, through early development and his introduction to jazz, his first big break (with Quincy Jones), and forward to his band of the past 30 years. In between, we get to enjoy music from the album.

It's interesting to watch the way Woods motivates and leads his band. They're receptive to his suggestions, and we're able to see the results immediately.

Woods tells of his early influences, which include Johnny Hodges, Charlie Parker and Benny Carter. All aspects of his career are included in the interviews.

The music sounds as pure as on the CD, but here we're also able to share the session visually. Woods seems quite relaxed as he plays, sitting in front of the band as casually as his musical themes, and standing comfortably for solos. The experiences that he shares with us on this documentary come clear as he demonstrates through his music where it all has led him. Woods was 72 when this film was made early last year. His experience has shown him a positive path, and he's been able to help thousands of aspiring students.

Preferring soulful ballads on his E-flat alto saxophone for this recommended documentary, Phil Woods explains, inspires, and provides great music.

Track listing: Q's Delight; For Lena and Lennie; The Quintessence; Goodbye Mr. Evans.

Musicians: Phil Woods: alto saxophone, piano; Brian Lynch: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bill Charlap: piano; Steve Gilmore: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums; Nelson Hill: baritone saxophone, flute; Tom Hamilton: tenor saxophone; Bobby Routch: French horn; Rick Chamberlain: euphonium.

Program notes: DVD Producer: Graham Carter; Directed by Rich Lerner; 87 minutes. Special Features: Phil Woods discography; Additional interviews with Phil Woods.


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