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Phil Woods: Souvenirs

There are few people around today who have mastered their instruments like Phil Woods has the alto saxophone. Woods has chops galore, and he plays with full bodied swing and masterly command of a warm rich tone.

These qualities are perfectly evident on this Evidence CD. The album is a solid sender, a beautiful rendition of straightahead mainstream jazz.

The disc presents Phil’s working band, with the long-time rhythm section of Jim McNeely, Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin, and relative newcomer, trumpeter Bryan Lynch. Lynch is the maguffin here, as his more modern conception (in his playing and in two compositions) adds a delightful element that makes the album just a bit different and sparkly. Gilmore also adds some nice touches with crisp and sonorous guitar-like bass solos.

But the attraction of course is Woods, and he’s as great as ever. Feature tracks include mentor Benny Carter’s “Souvenir,” and a fluffy shuffle on the invigorating “Quill.”

Originally Published