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Astor & Elis

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Album Review

Phil Woods can usually be counted on to record consistently explosive bop-oriented sets with his regular quintet but Astor & Elis is quite different. The altoist dedicates the performance to the singer Elis Regina, the influential modern tango composer Astor Piazzolla and indirectly to Dizzy Gillespie. Joined by a sextet that includes the talented cellist Eric Friedlander, pianist Bill Charlap and Phil Markowitz on synthesizer, Woods alternates between playing alto on Brazilian-flavored material and utilizing his clarinet for Piazzolla's music. The emphasis is generally on lyrical and heartfelt ballad statements with occasional heated passages; Dizzy's "Con Alma" is the only jazz standard on the set. This attractive music favorably shows off Woods' versatility.


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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Astor & Elis, Phil Woods
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