At first glance, this LP by Phil Woods might appear to be a rather easily dismissed commercial affair, but just eyeballing a record jacket can be deceiving. Woods' conception of a large orchestra performing bossa novas was realized through his collaboration with Chris Gunning and his orchestra during a trip to England in 1976; what is surprising is that this recording, sometimes with strings and backing vocals, was done completely without any overdubs. Gunning and Woods both contributed arrangements and orchestrations. Another treat is hearing Woods on soprano sax, an instrument he has used sporadically on recordings, on both the opening track, "Canto de Ossanha (Let Go)," and Gunning's "Chaldean Prayer." Woods is also in top form on his main instrument, alto sax, which he plays on most of the rest of the tracks. Keyboardist Gordon Beck (who had previously worked with Phil Woods & His European Rhythm Machine), trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, and saxophonist Tony Coe are among the most notable names in the musicians present. Although both the strings and the backing vocals grow tiresome over time, the effort put into the production of this LP is still rather impressive. Not a likely candidate for reissue, but this long out of print record should still be relatively easy to find.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden