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Phil Woods

alto saxophone

The name Phil Woods evokes in most jazz fans the image of a searingly hot tone and intensely driving rhythmic pulse, as well as improvisations that grab listeners by the throat and never lets go. He's an alto sax player (and clarinetist) whose lineage is clearly rooted in Charlie Parker, Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges. Woods was born Nov. 2, 1931, in Springfield, Mass., and began sax lessons with Harvey La Rose at age 12. After graduating from high school at age 16, Woods moved to New York City for the summer to study at the Manhattan School of Music, then put in four years at Juilliard. He worked with his own groups in the '50s and '60s, often with altoist Gene Quill, also playing with Quincy Jones and Dizzy Gillespie.The list of musicians and singers with whom Phil Woods had performed and/or recorded reads like a Who's Who of Jazz: Benny Goodman ( with whom he toured the Soviet Union in 1962, again for the State Department), Benny Cater, Clark Terry (with whom he founded the "Big Bad Band" with Clark and Melba Liston), Bill Evans, Michel Legrand, Oliver Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Dorham, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean and Red Garland are just a few of those stars. In 1968, Phil went to live in Europe where he formed the European Rhythm Machine. Together the played all over the world until 1973 when Woods returned to the United States. Early in 1974, the altoist formed the first of the various quartets and quintets that have been his bread-and-butter over the last quarter-century of touring and recording. The group's original bassist and drummer, Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin, remain with Woods and members have included trumpeters Tom Harrell or Brian Lunch, trombonist Hal Crook and pianists such as Mike Melillo, Hal Galper and Jim McNeely. The recipient of and honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from East Stroudsburg University, an inductee into The American Jazz Hall of Fame and a consistent poll winner, he is proudest of his accomplishments as a leader of The Phil Woods Quintet.
Recommended Recordings
Song for Sisyphus Dcc Compact Classics
Live at Montreux Verve
Anything Goes [import] Jazz Time
I Remember Dcc Compact Classics
American's swinging in Paris Emi Int.
Phil Woods / Lew Tabackin Evidence
Flowers for Hodges Concord
Thrill is gone Venus
Astor & Elis Chesky
Imeges Victor
Woodlore OJC
Phil and Quill OJC