Phil Woods

The Solo Album

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Phil Woods recorded a series of seven CDs within a space of five days for Paolo Piangiarelli's Philology label during May 2000, and this fourth volume may be the most special to the veteran saxophonist's heart. As a special tribute to his mother and father, who were very supportive of his decision to become a musician, Woods is featured in his first truly solo release. Listening to his unaccompanied flights on alto sax is a joy, as the listener can add his or her own rhythm section in their head (if necessary). His opening ballad medley -- including "Stardust," "I'm Glad There Is You," and the less well-known "Be My Love" -- is simply breathtaking, closely followed by his superb medley ("Cool Blues," "Yardbird Suite," and "Cherokee") in tribute to Charlie Parker and another ("Out of Nowhere," "The Song Is You," and "I Only Miss Her When I Think of Her") to honor his good friend Benny Carter. Woods also plays composer-style piano on several of his originals, starting with the reflective "Aimee" and adding a friendly vocal as well on several numbers, including "Randi" (a tribute to the late Randi Hultin, who was well-known for hosting American jazz musicians during their tours of Europe), the choppy yet catchy "Where Do We Go From Here," and an amusing dismissal of critics in "The Last Page," while making light of his limitations as a pianist and singer. It is doubtful that many saxophonists would dare to record a CD such as this one in a single afternoon, and few label owners remain ambitious enough to support projects like this one. While this CD will be of interest especially to longtime fans of Phil Woods, anyone who has picked up a few of his numerous releases should also check it out.

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