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Interview with Phil Woods

January 27, 2013 Leave a comment

phil woods

Jazz is a life force that continues to influence musicians all over the world.

Last week I interviewed Mr. Woods.

Phil Woods was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1931. Springfield, Massachusetts in 1931. After studying at music school, touring jobs with big bands and then small-group with Jimmy Raney (1955) and George Wallington(1956, 1957).

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, bop’s greatest saxophonist, 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. (wikipedipedia.org)

He played with Dizzy Gillespie big band, including overseas tours (1956), and formed two alto-quintet with Gene Quill (1957). With Buddy Rich quintet (1958-9) and was founder member of Quincy Jones big band (1959-61). Also worked with Benny Goodman (1962) and did considerable amount of studio sessions in the 1960s. Moved to Paris with his then wife Chan Richardson (former consort of Charlie Parker) and formed his European Rhytm Machine quartet. (Brian Priestly, Jazz, the essential companion)

He returned to the United States in 1972. 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 “Just the Way You Are.” He also played the alto sax solo on Steely Dan’s “Doctor Wu,” from their critically acclaimed 1975 album Katy Lied, as well as Paul Simon’s 1975 hit, Have a Good Time.

Although Woods is primarily a saxophonist he is also a fine clarinet player and solos can be found scattered through his recordings. One good example is his clarinet solo onMisirlou on the album Into The Woods (see discography below).

Phil Woods A Life in E Flat-Portrait of a Jazz Legend is a documentary film released in 2005 by Jazzed Media. Directed by Rich Lerner, and produced by Graham Carter, the film offers an intimate portrait of Woods during a recording session of the Jazzed Media albumThis is How I Feel About Quincy. (wikipedia)

Mr. Woods, you’re active in Jazzmusic for more than 60 years, that’s a lifetime. Has Jazzmusic evoluated since you started? We know there are labels for different kinds of music, but (in the core) in what whay is Jazz nowadays different from Modern Jazz?

There has been a big infusion of Latin rhythms first introduced by Dizzy Gillespie and now further developed by musicians such as Paquito D’Rivera and Ignacio Berora and many more.

Which album you produced do you like best? Why?
‘Phil Woods/ Lew Tabackin”, is your best appreciated albums in The Penguin Guide to Jazz. Is this your favourite record too?
This is like asking a father which child is your favorite. My favorite record is my next one.

Do you still visit concerts? (and if so) Do you still learn from your youthful colleagues? Are you inspired by them?
Not as much as I did when I was younger but I still travel – off to Tel Aviv next week and then on to a Jazz Cruise in the Carribean. And yes I am still learning from young players and discovering new things from the Jazz Masters that preceded me.

Charlie Parker. You’ve been a long-time fan. He’s been an example for generations of (jazz)musicians. This year it’s 58 years ago he died (as many great musicians you played with passed last six decades). What does this mean to you?
Bird, Dizzy and Monk revolutionized the world and continue to do so. They mean everything to me – my life time heroes!

Mundell Lowe said to me three months ago: “Jazz is a growing musical force. It will keep expanding and growing for many years to come. And it is after al, one of the only art forms that we, the USA has produced. ” Do you agree with him?
Yes I do. Mundell was a dear friend and knows what he is talking about.

Is there Jazz in the future? Jazz is the most recorded musicstyle by now, but do you think Jazz will reach our youth?
Jazz will never die. Too many good men gave their lives to this music. Jazz is a life force that continues to influence musicians all over the world.

The Midnight Sun Will Never Set:

Interjazz, Try Now!

November 10, 2012 1 comment

ImageLast week we lost Teddy Curson and Elliott Carter. Today we listen to the music of living legends Clark Terry, Mundell Lowe, Don Friedman, Yusef Lateef and Jimmy Heath. Thank you.

Interjazz, try now! by Interjazzblog on Mixcloud

Interview with Mundell Lowe

October 7, 2012 Leave a comment

“Jazz is a growing musical force. It will keep expanding and growing for many years to come.”

It’s an honour for me to start this new jazzblog with the interview I had with Mundell Lowe. Mundell Lowe, pioneer of the jazz-guitar, is a living legend and he is inventive now as he was more than 70 years ago. Wikipedia says: “He was born April 21 1922 in Laurel, Mississippi.  In the 1930s he played country music and Dixieland jazz. He later played with big bands and orchestras, and on television in New York City. In the 1960s, Lowe composed music for films and television inNew York City and Los Angeles. He has performed and/or recorded with Billie Holiday,Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Helen Humes, Roy Buchanan, Charles Mingus, Stan Getz,Doc Severinsen, Kai Winding, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Benny Carter, Herb Ellis,Tal Farlow, Barry Manilow, André Previn, Ray Brown, Kiri Te Kanawa, Tete Montoliu, Harry Belafonte and others. Lowe was responsible for introducing the pianist Bill Evans to producer Orrin Keepnews resulting in Evan’s first recordings under his own leadership.”

Mr. Lowe, you’re active in jazzmusic for more than 70 years, that’s a lifetime. Has jazzmusic evoluated since you started? We know there are labels for different kinds of music, but (in the core) in what whay is jazz nowadadys different from modern jazz?

Jazz has grown a lot with the development of the use off different harmonies, and a better use of melody. Jazz has changed (grown) in many ways.

 Which album you produced do you like the best? Why?

My favorite album is “Tacit For Neurotics”…best recorded, and better music (Alec Wilder Music)

You’re a musician’s musician. Do you still visit concerts? (and if  so) Do you still learn from your youthful colleagues? Are you inspired by them?

Yes, I go to many concerts, and yes, I learn from most of them. There are some young musicians that have different views of music, which I do admire.

The late pianist Bill Evans has been introduced by you . He’s been an example for a generation of  pianists. This year it’s thirtytwo years ago he has perished (as many great jazzmusicians passed last three decades). What does this mean to you?

Bill Evans was an exceptional musician he is missed by all people that have an advanced view of the new music, especially…jazz.

Is there jazz in the future? Jazz is the most recorded musicstyle by now, but do you think jazz will reach our youth?

Jazz is a growing musical force. It will keep expanding and growing for many years to come. And it is after al, one of the only art forms that we, the USA has produced.

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