This is a landmark recording for Phil Woods (one of seven CDs produced during a five-day period during May 2000 for Philology) because it marks the first time he has played clarinet exclusively throughout a session. Not familiar with the work of Brazilian guitarist Irio De Paula prior to this duo date, Woods was dazzled by his stunning interpretations of the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, so he left his alto sax in the case and opted for the warm chalumeau sound of the clarinet instead. All but two of the songs are from the vast Jobim songbook, including the exquisite opener, "Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar," a magical "Corcovado," and the lively "A Felicidade." The two standards not written by Jobim, "Days of Wine and Roses" and "Autumn Leaves," have rarely sounded as lovely. Woods' considerable skill on the clarinet is badly underrated because he has not been heard playing it often enough, while De Paula clearly deserves wider recognition outside his native land. This highly recommended CD will help to rectify these oversights.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden