All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

1

Bob Lark-Phil Woods Quintet: Thick As Thieves

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Remember the good old days when jazz groups came out swinging and took no prisoners until the battle had been won? Well, why settle for memories when you can lay your cares aside for an hour or so and groove to Thick as Thieves, the third and last album by the unrivaled and always-aggressive Bob Lark / Phil Woods Quintet, recorded, as were the first two, in concert at Joe Segal's venerable Jazz Showcase in Chicago. This is as close to a jam session as jazz comes in these days of overdubs, outtakes and splices, and as close to unalloyed excellence as an in-person performance can be.

The way these sessions usually worked, according to Lark, was that the group would decide in advance what songs to play, then Woods would completely ignore the playlist, calling out a series of unrehearsed and un-charted jazz evergreens and standards from the Great American Songbook, challenging his bandmates to perform them spontaneously. The results are what is heard on Thick as Thieves and the albums that preceded it, In Your Eyes (2006) and Live at the Jazz Showcase (2009). Not, as it turns out, an unpalatable recipe for success.

The concert begins and ends with classics by Charlie Parker ("Yardbird Suite," "Billie's Bounce"). Between them are two compositions by Lark (the sauntering "First Steps" and cool-tempered "Winter's Touch"), Thelonious Monk's off-kilter "Rhythm-a-Ning" and enduring standards by Cole Porter ("I Love You") and Jerome Kern / Oscar Hammerstein II ("All the Things You Are"). As four of the seven run for more than eleven minutes, there is ample room for Woods, Lark and pianist Jim McNeely to stretch, with more concise but no less persuasive solos from time to time by the other members of the "Phil Woods Quartet," bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin. Lark, the longtime director of the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, is an eloquent and resourceful soloist (playing flugelhorn throughout), while Woods, who passed away in September 2015, needs no introduction to jazz fans anywhere. It could be said without censure that he was among the last of the "individualists," soloists whose unique sound and personal style made them almost instantly identifiable. Think Zoot Sims, Stan Getz or Art Pepper.

This is a concert wherein everyone, not only the leaders, is at the top of his game. And when appraising musicians of this caliber, that is saying a lot. Five stars for this bright and tasteful session, with no hesitation or second thoughts.

Track Listing: Yardbird Suite; I Love You; First Steps; Rhythm-a-Ning; All the Things You Are; Winter’s Touch; Billie’s Bounce.

Personnel: Bob Lark: flugelhorn; Phil Woods: alto saxophone; Jim McNeely: piano; Steve Gilmore: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums.

Title: Thick As Thieves | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Jazzed Media

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Thick As Thieves

Thick As Thieves

Jazzed Media
2017

buy
Sweet Return

Sweet Return

Jazzed Media
2014

buy
Reunion

Reunion

Jazzed Media
2012

buy
Cathy's Song

Cathy's Song

Jazzed Media
2010

buy
Live at the Jazz Showcase

Live at the Jazz...

Jazzed Media
2009

buy
Suggestions

Suggestions

Jazzed Media
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read The Nook CD/LP/Track Review
The Nook
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations CD/LP/Track Review
Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Moments Before CD/LP/Track Review
Moments Before
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 22, 2018
Read From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray) CD/LP/Track Review
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Intention" CD/LP/Track Review Intention
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 10, 2018
Read "Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume Two
by Chris May
Published: February 25, 2018
Read "Long Story Short" CD/LP/Track Review Long Story Short
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "Tenderness is Silent" CD/LP/Track Review Tenderness is Silent
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Hybrid" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrid
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Swinging In The Holidays" CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017