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Album Review

Phil Woods and Lee Konitz have performed together on occasion throughout their long careers, though relatively few have been recorded for commercial release. Fortunately, they played several sets together during the 2003 Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, so this Philology CD is one of four volumes which came from these concerts. The two musicians are easy to tell apart as Konitz's dryer, more dissonant style contrasts with Woods' boisterous, very melodic approach; yet together, they blend beautifully. With an outstanding rhythm section consisting of pianist Franco D'Andrea, bassist Massimo Moriconi, and drummer Massimo Manzi, the two alto saxophonists have a blast exploring Konitz's compositions, starting with the explosive opener, "Thingin'" (based on the standard "All the Tings You Are"). Konitz's late musical partner, tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, composed the playful "Bop Goes the Leesel," an adventurous takeoff on the childhood nursery rhyme. Although labeled as a medley of three tunes, the sixth track is actually a fascinating and occasionally chaotic blend of two songs based on the chord changes to "What Is This Thing Called Love": Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" and Konitz's "Subconcsious-Lee." Each musician on-stage gets a turn in the solo spotlight to good effect. Singer Barbara Casini joins the two veterans for two effective interpretations of Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova classics, "Outra Vez" and "Voce e Eu." Fans of either saxophonist will consider this CD to be an essential purchase.


Born: 02 November 1931 in Springfield, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the true masters of the bop vocabulary, Phil Woods had his own sound beginning in the mid-'50s and stuck to his musical guns throughout a remarkably productive career. There was never a doubt that he was one of the top alto saxophonists in jazz, and he 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...
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