Phil Woods

Bird's Night: A Celebration of the Music of Charlie Parker

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Two years after Charlie Parker's death, alto saxophonist Phil Woods convened a sextet consisting of himself, fellow altoist Frank Sokolow, baritone sax player Cecil Payne, pianist Duke Jordan (an alumnus of Parker's band), bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Art Taylor for a set to be broadcast live from New York's famous Five Spot nightclub. The program consisted of four Parker compositions: the slow and contemplative "Parker's Mood," "Steeplechase," "Buzzy," and one of Parker's signature bop barnburners, "Scrapple from the Apple." Reissued here on CD, the album is perhaps most notable for Cecil Payne's adroit handling of his rather unwieldy instrument -- on "Steeplechase," in particular, he wrestles lines of surprising lightness and flexibility from his baritone sax. Art Taylor's accompaniment is also worth noting, as is Duke Jordan's elegant piano work. Woods himself is in his usual fine form, and if there's nothing especially revelatory about the session overall, it will please fans of both Woods and Bird.