Phil Woods Quintet Live at Nick's Cafe in Lauren, Holland

Ken Dryden By

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Gene Parrish's syndicated radio program Worldwide Jazz is not one that I've heard very often over the years, so this circa 1996 broadcast of the Phil Woods Quintet at Nick's Café in Lauren, Holland, was a special treat.

The alto saxophonist's quintet at the time was a strong one (when isn't Woods leading a great band?), featuring trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Bill Charlap, plus his long time rhythm section, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin.

They kick off the set with Lynch's snappy vehicle "One For Mogie (dedicated to Lee Morgan) showcasing Woods, Lynch and Charlap in turn. Next are two tributes by Woods. First up is "Quill, which salutes Woods' frequent recording partner Gene Quill (also a fine alto saxophonist, who died in 1989). This playful cooker showcases a long but inspired solo by Woods, as he inserts quotes from "Things Ain't What They Used to Be, "On Broadway and "In the Mood. Lynch also shines in the spotlight, though Charlap nearly steals the show with his intense playing. "Goodbye Mr. Evans, which salutes the influential pianist, is arguably one of Woods' greatest compositions. Written shortly after Bill Evans' untimely death at the age of 51, Woods' powerful solo conveys the frustration that many jazz musicians felt following Evans' passing. The set closes with two more originals. His exuberant "All Bird's Children is the kind of bop chart that Charlie Parker would have devoured, with some fantastic unison playing by Woods and Lynch. They immediately segue into the leader's long time theme "How's Your Mama, though much of the song has the host's closing comments and credits over the top.

Playlist: 1. One For Mogie (Brian Lynch); 2. Quill (Phil Woods); 3. Goodbye Mr. Evans (Phil Woods); 4. All Bird's Childrean (Phil Woods); 5. How's You Mama? (Phil Woods).

Personnel: Phil Woods: alto sax; Brian Lynch: trumpet; Bill Charlap: piano; Steve Gilmore: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums.


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