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Album Review

Phil Woods has recorded with many different musicians for the Philology label, but this meeting with the Big Bang Orchestra, led by Mario Raja, had to overcome the lack of suitable studios to come to fruition, finally ending up in an empty disco that was closed to the public. The results were worth the extra effort. Woods is the guest soloist with the band, featuring Raja's potent arrangements. In addition to standards like "Embraceable You" and "Just One of Those Things" plus standard jazz fare ("Nardis" and "Crepuscule with Nellie,") all of which are very familiar to Woods, there are several originals by Raja. While none of them is likely to become a standard, they still provoke stimulating performances. The closing "Big Bang Blues" showcases several of the orchestra's top soloists (especially trumpeter Paolo Fresu) as well as Woods and trombonist Hal Crook, the latter subbing for a musician who failed to return to the second session of the day. This CD is definitely worth picking up.


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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Embraceable You, Phil Woods
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