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Phil Woods Dies at 83

Alto sax great had retired only weeks ago

Phil Woods

Alto saxophone giant and NEA Jazz Master Phil Woods, an unrepentant bebopper who parlayed a love for the music of Charlie Parker into a six-decade career as a highly respected leader and first-call sideman, died today, Sept. 29, in East Stroudsburg, Pa., at age 83. The cause of death was emphysema. Woods’ death was confirmed online by his agent, Joel Chriss.

Woods had announced his retirement from live performance earlier this month, after finishing a performance of the music from Charlie Parker With Strings featuring a local trio and members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Until that time, he’d remained an active performer.

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