Phil Woods – Straight ahead – multi-Grammy Winner – often referred to as “the new Bird”.
Cool, straight-ahead sounds of Phil Woods this weekend, in a concert recorded in Paris at the Maison de la Radio on December 20, 1968, and broadcast over ORTF (RFI), Paris.
Highly respected and admired, often referred to as The New Bird, for his similarity in style (a title also given to Sonny Rollins and Cannonball Adderley), Woods was active all the way up until his death in September of 2015.
With a string of successful Jazz albums to his credit, and even a few Pop acknowledgements as soloist on the Billy Joel 1977 hit, Just The Way You Are as well as albums by Steely Dan and Paul Simon. Woods relocated to France in 1968, where he formed the European Rhythm Machine and explored a more experimental route. His new group, featured on this broadcast, consists of Georges Gruntz, piano – Henri Texier, bass, and Daniel Humair on drums. He moved back to the U.S. in 1972 and formed the Quintet that would continue with a few personnel changes, until 2004. He was also awarded top honors in the Downbeat Critics Poll some 30 times.
In addition to leading his own groups, Woods also collaborated with a veritable who’s who of Jazz notables. Quincey Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, John Lewis, Thelonius Monk, Neal Hefti and a host of others. His Discography is massive and covers the years 1947-2015. An impressive run by anyone’s standards, and certainly more than enough material to dig through for months. Most of which has been reissued.
There are so many names associated with the pivotal and break-through years in Jazz that some slip through the cracks for no apparent reason. Jazz enthusiasts know Phil Woods and his work practically by heart. Newcomers to the form or casual listeners just getting into Jazz may have to dig a bit to make the discovery – not that he is obscure, by any stretch of the imagination, but the playing field of those who made a difference is pretty immense – Phil Woods is in there and definitely deserves some further investigation if you aren’t already familiar. Like all forms of music you may be unfamiliar with, making discoveries is 99% percent of the journey.