Stefano Bollani / The Italian Rhythm Machine / Phil Woods

Woods Plays Woods

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Phil Woods was obviously very pleased with this studio session, one of seven CDs recorded for "Philology" in a five-day span during May 2000. His liner notes boast of the musicianship of the Italian Rhythm Machine (pianist Stefano Bollani, bassist Ares Tavolazzi, and drummer Massimo Manzi), who nailed everything on the first take, while one can take it for granted that Woods' highly regarded chops on alto sax are present. This release, dedicated to Wood's son, Garth, is primarily a showcase for the leader's underrated talents as a composer. "Samba Du Bois" is an exciting opener that compares very well with an earlier version from Woods' 1974 session, Musique du Bois. His gorgeous memorial tribute to Bill Evans, "Goodbye Mr. Evans," packs an emotional punch in an extended performance with some beautiful backing lines by Bollani. "Sittin' Here" is a laid-back strut that will likely provoke finger-snapping by the listener. The one track not composed by Woods is Sammy Cahn's classic "It's You or No One," which provides a brisk finale to an immaculately recorded and very entertaining session.

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