Irio de Paula / Phil Woods

Blues for New Orleans

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One of the benefits of Phil Woods' association with Paolo Piangiarelli's Philology label is that it has given him an opportunity to collaborate with a number of European-based musicians with whom he might not have otherwise had the opportunity to make a record. The first meeting between the alto saxophonist and guitarist Irio De Paula in 2000 for the label, titled Encontro, was an inspired date and this 2005 follow-up session is as well. Drawing mostly from a mix of standards and well-known jazz compositions, Woods and De Paula obviously regained their earlier chemistry shortly after reuniting in the studio. Although many of the tracks run eight to nine minutes and it is just the two of them with no additional accompanists, Woods and De Paula never run out of ideas or overstay their welcome. Some highlights include the playful "Honeysuckle Rose," the intricate "Nuages" (with a lush solo introduction by De Paula), the delightful bossa nova setting of "Night and Day," and the passionate, extended workout of "Tenderly." Woods and De Paula improvised the spirited"Blues for New Orleans," named in honor of the devastated Crescent City, which had been nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina just a few weeks before the recording session.

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