Phil Woods

Freedom Jazz Dance

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Phil Woods went through one of the most adventurous periods in his career while leading his European Rhythm Machine between 1968 and 1972. For this Rome concert recorded in the summer of 1969 (evidently taken from a radio broadcast), the alto saxophonist is accompanied by pianist George Gruntz, bassist Henri Texier and drummer Daniel Humair (the latter being the only member who stayed with Woods throughout the group's existence). His interpretation of Oliver Nelson's well-known blues "Stolen Moments" is very different than the composer's recordings, occasionally greatly accelerating the tempo and featuring wild solos by the band's members, with Texier being heard unaccompanied. Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance" is introduced with a slow abstract duet by Gruntz and Texier, before Woods launches into a furious workout of it. This concert wraps with yet another fast-paced number, the leader's post-bop vehicle "Alive and Well." The sound is decent, though there are brief dropouts in spots.