Phil Woods

Three for All

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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden

This is a bit of an unusual outing for Phil Woods, as Tommy Flanagan and Red Mitchell are his only musical partners for these 1981 sessions. The lack of drums enables the musicians to take a few extra liberties as they respond to one another. Woods is in top form, engaging his partners in a three-way conversation that seems effortless. His robust "Reet's Neet" benefits from Flanagan's fluid lines and Mitchell's potent bass, while Woods' touching ballad "Goodbye Mr. Evans," a tribute to the late pianist Bill Evans (who died a few months prior to these sessions), begins with a hauntingly beautiful piano solo, with Mitchell making a delayed entrance just prior to his solo and the composer waiting until just past the five-minute mark to add his emotional statement, which conveys his admiration for Evans' music. Flanagan's driving "Three for All" has a Latin undercurrent, with plenty of sparks flying among the players. Mitchell contributed three originals, including the loping ballad "It's Time to Emulate the Japanese," the lyrical "Talking," and the upbeat "You're Me," which features Woods on clarinet.

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