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European Tour Live

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Album Review

In one of the last performances by the Phil Woods Quartet before the departure of pianist Mike Melillo, this 1½-hour-plus concert finds the group at a creative peak. Woods isn't shy about stretching tunes out to explore every possibility with several long tracks; Lars Gullin's "Silhouette," a piece not likely familiar to many jazz fans, is a brilliant melancholy piece, with Woods' alto sax occasionally mimicking an accordion. "Rain Go Away" is a cheerful uptempo original by the leader, while his version of Joe Henderson's "Isotope" features a long introduction by drummer Bill Goodwin that sets the band afire. The only predictable part of the program is the almost obligatory beg-off performance of "Phil's Theme" (aka "How's Your Mama?"); listeners are then rewarded with an encore of Alec Wilder's delightful (but not often heard) "Trouble Is a Man." An enjoyable evening of hard bop by one of its true masters.

Biography

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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