Phil Woods has recorded a number of excellent CDs for Philology with pianist Franco D'Andrea; on this occasion, one of seven sessions by Woods recorded in just five days during May of 2000, they (along with drummer Ellade Bandini and bassist Massimo Moriconi) focus exclusively on works by D'Andrea. The alto saxophonist is in great form throughout the date, as is the rhythm section. The music proves to be demanding but the musicians are up to its challenges. The opener, "U-Boat," is a hard-driving bop vehicle that seems like a very well-disguised reworking of the chord changes to "What Is This Thing Called Love?" "Blueberries" shows off Woods' considerable lyricism. The choppy, somewhat dissonant, and very playful "T.M." obviously is named in honor of Thelonious Monk, and this piece was a lot of fun for the quartet. "Phil Rouge" is a rather intricate blues tune dedicated to Woods. The soft ballad "Quiet Children" features Moriconi extensively, while "Looping" gives Bandini a turn in the spotlight. D'Andrea's compositions may not become jazz standards, but they stand up very well to repeated listening. As are all of Phil Woods' Philology CDs, Woods Plays D'Andrea is warmly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden