This 1960 album by the great jazz alto saxophonist Gigi Gryce can be hard to find because Read more →
These two albums will be featured for the next week or so. They are “Further Definitions” with Booker Ervin and “What Happens?” with Art Farmer and Phil Woods. Check in the schedule link for play times. ENJOY!
More on the Further Definitions Album:
FURTHER DEFINITIONS is a serious contender for Benny Carter’s most essential disc (though he churned out astounding amounts of high-quality work for more than 70 years). This 1961 album was a revisitation of a ’37 session Carter cut with Coleman Hawkins, Django Reinhardt, and two European saxophonists. Hawkins brings his glorious tenor back for the ’61 set, while guitarist John Collins fills Reinhardt’s shoes. Charlie Rouse appears on tenor sax, with Phil Woods on alto, while the crack rhythm section of Dick Katz (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), and Jo Jones (drums) completes the personnel.
The set is, arguably, an improvement on the original, with its beautiful sound engineering, excellent arrangements (the four-horn line approximates a big band at times), and shining solo performances all around. “Honeysuckle Rose” and “Body and Soul” (on which Hawkins, of course, takes a magnificent, extended solo) are here, as are two fine Carter originals, the lush and lazy “Blue Star” and “Doozy,” a sprightly bop number. The “Additions to FURTHER DEFINITIONS” section (tracks 9-16), a 1966 session……Read More
The individual discographies of both Art Farmer and Phil Woods are sizable, but this 1968 studio session seems to be their only joint recording in a small-group setting. With pianist Martial Solal, bassist Henri Texier, and drummer Daniel Humair (the latter two were members of Phil Woods’ European Rhythm Machine at the time), the two completed this recording in three hours, even though there are some minor rough spots. A very snappy take of Michel Legrand’s “Watch What Happens” is a perfect opener, with great interplay between Woods’ energetic alto sax and Farmers warm flugelhorn. The rhythm section kicks off a furious tempo to Kenny Dorham’s “Blue Bossa” and the co-leaders make the most of it. Gigi Gryce’s stimulating blues “Blue Lights” is also full of fire in a brisk arrangement. “Sunrise, Sunset,” the famous ballad from Fiddler on the Roof, is unusually fast, with plenty of risk-taking in the solos by Woods, Farmer, and particularly Solal…….Read More
Phil Woods Biography:
Born: November 02, 1931 in Springfield, MA
Years Active: 40 ‘s, 50 ‘s, 60 ‘s, 70 ‘s, 80 ‘s, 90 ‘s, 00′s
One of the true masters of the bop vocabulary, Phil Woods has had his own sound since the mid-’50s and stuck to his musical guns throughout a remarkably productive career. There has never been a doubt that he is one of the top alto saxophonists alive, and he has lost neither his enthusiasm nor his creativity through the years.
Woods’ first alto was left to him by an uncle, and he started playing seriously when he was 12. He gigged and studied locally until 1948, when he moved to New York. Woods studied with Lennie Tristano, at the Manhattan School of Music, and at Juilliard, where he majored in clarinet. He worked with Charlie Barnet (1954), Jimmy Raney (1955), George Wallington, the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, Buddy Rich (1958-1959), Quincy Jones (1959-1961), and Benny Goodman (for BG’s famous 1962 tour of the Soviet Union), but has mostly headed his own groups since 1955, including co-leadership of a combo with fellow altoist Gene Quill in the ’50s logically known as “Phil & Quill.” Woods, who married the late Charlie Parker’s former wife Chan in the 1950s (and became the stepfather to singer Kim Parker), was sometimes thought of as “the new Bird” due to his brilliance in bop settings, but he never really sounded like a copy of Parker.
Woods popped up in a variety of settings in the 1960s — on Benny Carter’s classic Further Definitions record, touring Europe with the short-lived Thelonious Monk Nonet, and appearing on studio dates like the soundtracks to The Hustler and Blow Up. Always interested in jazz education (although he believes that there is no better way to learn jazz than to gig and travel constantly), Woods taught at an arts camp in Pennsylvania in the summers of 1964-1967. Discouraged with the jazz scene in the U.S., he moved to France in 1968….Read More