William Woods : The Hear and Now

In addition to penning catchy titles such as “Pensacoloda” and “Paradigm Shifted Again,” doctor/pianist William Woods likes to play critic and review his own CDs in their liner notes, as he does here again on his fourth project: “The music is upbeat and vibrant,” he opines, “its statements crafted to be simple but poignant. The groove is strong and the CD rocks.”

OK, now that he’s written half of this review, I guess I’ll have to write the rest. He’s basically right.

With a dash of David Benoit, Joe Sample and Bob James, Woods’ strength is creating memorable contemporary jazz around piano playing that makes you sit up and notice, such as on “Listen to This” and “Lake Paranoid” (should have written something about the title of that song, William). Although the majority of the music is comfortably jazzy, Woods does rock, as he says, on the groovy, thick-beated title track and “Not Suitable for Children.”

Woods has done it again with a prescription for cutting-edge contemporary jazz. Sorry, Doc, couldn’t resist.