Phil Woods

Into the Woods: The Best of Phil Woods

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Saxophonist Phil Woods recorded prolifically for the Concord label from 1987-1997, primarily with a mid-sized ensemble that really cooked and allowed him to stretch his bop ideas into a more contemporary vein. Unfortunately, that's not what you hear during these eight tracks selected from that discography. What is present is a mishmash of different groups from that time period, and only one cut featuring the potent team of trumpeter Tom Harrell and trombonist Hal Crook together, that being the definitive opener, "All Bird's Children." There are two standards, many special guests making cameo appearances, and thankfully lots of pianist Hal Galper on six of the eight selections. Even Woods is represented diffusely, heard on his signature alto on five cuts, with two on clarinet and one on atypical soprano sax. Perhaps this collection was produced to demonstrate the range of Woods aside from his mastery as a post-Charlie Parker hard swinger, but likely fans of that legendary expertise will be disappointed by this set, far removed from the absolute best of Phil Woods.

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