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Woods in 1978
|Birth name||Philip Wells Woods|
|Born||November 2, 1931
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||September 29, 2015
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, United States
|Occupation(s)||Saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader, composer|
|Associated acts||Buddy Rich, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman|
Woods was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He studied music with Lennie Tristano, who influenced him greatly, at the Manhattan School of Music and at the Juilliard School. His friend, Joe Lopes, coached him on clarinet as there was no saxophone major at Juilliard at the time. Although he did not copy Charlie "Bird" Parker, he was known as the New Bird, a label which was also attached to other alto players such as Sonny Stitt and Cannonball Adderley at one time or another in their careers.
In the mid-'50s, Woods began to front his own bands. He got major exposure after Quincy Jones invited him to accompany a 1956 State Department-sponsored world tour with the big band of Dizzy Gillespie. In 1959 Woods traveled Europe with Jones’ band; in 1962 he participated in Benny Goodman’s Russian tour.
After moving to France in 1968, Woods led the European Rhythm Machine, a group which tended toward avant-garde jazz. He returned to the United States in 1972 and, after an unsuccessful attempt to establish an electronic group, he formed a quintet which was still performing, with some changes of personnel, in 2004. As his theme, Woods used a piece titled "How's Your Mama?"
Woods earned the top alto sax player award almost 30 times in Downbeat magazine’s annual readers’ poll. His quintet was awarded the top small combo title several times.
In 1979, Woods made the recording More Live at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Perhaps his best known recorded work as a sideman is a pop piece, his alto sax solo on Billy Joel's 1977 "Just the Way You Are". He also played the alto sax solo on Steely Dan's "Doctor Wu" from their 1975 album Katy Lied, as well as Paul Simon's "Have a Good Time" from the 1975 album Still Crazy After All These Years.
Although Woods was primarily a saxophonist, he was also a clarinet player and solos can be found scattered through his recordings. One particular example is his clarinet solo on "Misirlou" on the album Into The Woods (see discography below).
Woods, along with Rick Chamberlain and Ed Joubert, founded the organization Celebration of the Arts (COTA) in 1978 late one night in the bar at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap. The organization would eventually become the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts. Their initial goal was to help foster an appreciation of jazz and its relationship to other artistic disciplines. Each year, the organization hosts the Celebration of the Arts Festival in the town of Delaware Water Gap in September.
In 2005, Jazzed media released the documentary Phil Woods A Life in E Flat-Portrait of a Jazz Legend, directed by Rich Lerner and produced by Graham Carter.
Phil Woods was married to Chan Parker, the widow of Charlie Parker, for 17 years from 1955 and was stepfather to Chan's daughter Kim. On September 4, 2015, Woods performed a tribute to Charlie Parker with Strings at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, and announced toward the end of the show that he would be retiring. Woods died September 29, 2015, at the age of 83.
In 2007, Phil received a "Jazz Master" award from the National Endowment of the Arts.
Woods' recordings have been nominated for seven Grammy awards and have won four.
- 1975 Images: "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance".
- 1977 Live from the Show Boat: "Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Individual or Group".
- 1982 More Live: "Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Individual or Group".
- 1983 At the Vanguard: "Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Individual or Group".
He also performed on the 2006 Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project Album, Simpático, which won Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year in 2007.
- 1954: Pot Pie (Prestige)
- 1955: Woodlore (Prestige)
- 1956: Pairing Off (Prestige)
- 1956: The Young Bloods (Prestige) – with Donald Byrd
- 1957: Four Altos (Prestige) – with Gene Quill, Hal Stein, Sahib Shihab
- 1957 Phil and Quill with Prestige – with Gene Quill
- 1957: Sugan (Status)
- 1959: Early Quintets (Prestige)
- 1961: Rights of Swing (Candid)
- 1967: Greek Cooking (Impulse!)
- 1969: Round Trip (Verve)
- 1970: Phil Woods and His European Rhythm Machine at the Frankfurt Jazz Festival (Embryo)
- 1970: Phil Woods and His European Rhythm Machine at the Montreux Jazz Festival (MGM)
- 1974: New Music by The New Phil Woods Quartet (Testament)
- 1974: Musique du Bois (Muse)
- 1975: Floresta Canto (RCA) with Chris Gunning Orchestra
- 1975: Images (RCA Victor) with Michel Legrand
- 1976: The New Phil Woods Album
- 1976: Altology (Prestige)
- 1977: Live from the Show Boat
- 1977: Summer Afternoon Jazz (Hindsight)
- 1978: 'Song for Sisyphus' (Gryphon)
- 1979: Phil Woods Quartet Live (Clean Cuts)
- 1979: Phil Woods – I Remember (Gryphon) US
- 1980: Phil Woods/Lew Tabackin (Omnisound) with Lew Tabackin
- 1982: Live from New York (Palo Alto)
- 1982: More Live
- 1983: At the Vanguard
- 1984: Integrity (Red)
- 1984: Heaven (Evidence)
- 1986: Dizzy Gillespie Meets Phil Woods Quintet (Timeless) – with Dizzy Gillespie
- 1987: Bop Stew; Bouquet (Concord)
- 1988: Evolution; Here's to My Lady (Concord)
- 1988: Embracable You (Philology)
- 1989: Flash (Concord)
- 1989: Here's to My Lady (Chesky)
- 1990: All Bird Children; Real Life (Concord)
- 1990: Phil's Mood (Philology)
- 1990: My Man Benny, My Man Phil, with Benny Carter (Musicmasters)
- 1991: Flowers For Hodges (Concord)
- 1991: Full House (Milestone)
- 1991: Real Life, The Little Big Band (Chesky)
- 1994: Just Friends; Our Monk (Philology)
- 1995: Plays The Music if Jim McNeely (TCB)
- 1996: Mile High Jazz Live in Denver (Concord)
- 1996: Astor and Elis (Chesky)
- 1996: The Complete Concert (JMS) with Gordon Beck
- 1996: Into The Woods (Concord CCD-4699)
- 1997: Celebration! (Concord)
- 1998: The Rev and I (Blue Note)
- 2006: Pass the Bebop (Cowbell Music) with Benjamin Koppel and Alex Riel Trio
- 2011: Man with the Hat (Pazz) with Grace Kelly (co-leader), with Monty Alexander, Evan Gregor, Bill Goodwin, and Jordan Perlson
With Manny Albam
With Benny Bailey
- Big Brass (Candid, 1960)
With Bob Brookmeyer
- Gloomy Sunday and Other Bright Moments (Verve, 1961)
With Kenny Burrell
- A Generation Ago Today (Verve, 1967)
With Gary Burton
With Ron Carter
With the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band
- Latin Kaleidoscope (MPS, 1968)
With Eddie Costa
- Eddie Costa Quintet (Interlude, 1957)
With Lou Donaldson
- Rough House Blues (1964)
With Bill Evans
- Symbiosis (1974)
With Gil Evans
With Art Farmer
- Listen to Art Farmer and the Orchestra (Mercury, 1962)
With Dizzy Gillespie
- World Statesman (Norgran, 1956)
- Dizzy in Greece (Verve, 1957)
- The New Continent (Limelight, 1962)
- Rhythmstick (CTI, 1990)
With Stephane Grappelli
- Classic Sessions: Stephane Grappelli (1987)
With Kenyon Hopkins
- The Hustler (soundtrack) (Kapp, 1961)
With Milt Jackson
With Billy Joel
- Just The Way You Are on album The Stranger CBS, 1977)
- New York State of Mind second studio version for compilation Greatest Hits (1985) and subsequent compilations and re-releases of album Turnstiles (replacing original saxophone by Richie Cannata)
With Quincy Jones
- The Birth of a Band! (Mercury, 1959)
- The Great Wide World of Quincy Jones (Mercury, 1959)
- I Dig Dancers (Mercury, 1960)
- The Quintessence (Impulse!, 1961)
With John Lewis
- Essence (Atlantic, 1962)
With Mundell Lowe
- Satan in High Heels (soundtrack) (Charlie Parker, 1961)
With Bryan Lynch
- Simpático (The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project) (ArtistShare AS 0057, 2006)
- Bolero Nights for Billie Holiday - (Venus VCD 1029, 2008)
With Herbie Mann
With Gary McFarland
With Nellie McKay
- Obligatory Villagers (2007)
With Carmen McRae
- Something to Swing About (Kapp, 1959)
With the Modern Jazz Quartet
With Thelonious Monk
With Oliver Nelson
- Impressions of Phaedra (United Artists, 1962)
- Full Nelson (Verve, 1963)
- More Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1964)
- Fantabulous (Argo, 1964)
- Oliver Nelson Plays Michelle (Impulse!, 1966)
- Happenings with Hank Jones (Impulse!, 1966)
- The Sound of Feeling (Verve, 1966)
- Encyclopedia of Jazz (Verve, 1966)
- The Spirit of '67 with Pee Wee Russell (Impulse!, 1967)
- The Kennedy Dream (Impulse!, 1967)
- Jazzhattan Suite (Verve, 1968)
With Joe Newman
- Salute to Satch (RCA Victor, 1956)
With Anita O'Day
- All the Sad Young Men (Verve, 1962)
With Pony Poindexter
- Pony's Express (Epic, 1962)
With Jimmy Raney
- Jimmy Raney Quintet (Prestige, 1954)
With Lalo Schifrin
With Shirley Scott
- Roll 'Em: Shirley Scott Plays the Big Bands (Impulse!, 1966)
With Sahib Shihab
- Jazz Sahib (Savoy, 1957)
With Jimmy Smith
With Chris Swansen
With Billy Taylor
- Kwamina (Mercury, 1961)
With Clark Terry
- The Happy Horns of Clark Terry (Impulse!, 1964)
With Kai Winding
- Kai Olé (Verve, 1961)
- Charles J. Gans (September 30, 2015). "Legendary Jazz Saxophonist Phil Woods Dies; Featured on Billy Joel Hit". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Phil Woods - Bio | Capri Records Ltd". caprirecords.com. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
- Rick Nowlin (September 29, 2015). "Phil Woods, legendary alto saxophonist who gave one more great performance here in early September, dies at 83". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Phil Woods, Grammy at AllMusic
- Gonzalez, Henry (1990). The Armadillo Years: A Visual History
- Nisenson, Eric (1996). Round About Midnight — A Portrait of Miles Davis (2nd ed.). Da Capo: Printing Press. ISBN 0-306-80684-3.
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