November 2, 2007


Phil Woods…born 11/2/31…

Phil is one of the great post-Charlie Parker alto sax players. Although hailed as “The New Bird” as a young man, in fact, Woods’ influences ran deeper: he greatly admired the harmonic theories and compositional techniques of pianist Lennie Tristano and the styles of the early alto masters Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter. (Even now, a Woods live date is almost sure to feature a Carter tune.) He’s appeared on too many great jazz albums to list, both as a leader and sideman, and is known to pop audiences for his solos on Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” and Steely Dan’s “Dr. Wu.” Two of his recordings are “Musique du Bois” and the hard-to-find, Grammy-winning “Live at the Showboat.” Phil’s playing is marked by impeccable technique and a joyful swagger which Nat Hentoff has compared (favorably) to the energetic performances of Coleman Hawkins and Louis Armstrong. For sax players of a certain age, Woods is the gold standard by which all straight-ahead jazz men are measured.

Posted by Glenn Dryfoos at November 2, 2007 10:36 AM
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