Phil Woods Quintet American Songbook Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

Veteran altoist tackles standards from the Great American Songbook...

Peter Marsh 2006

Surpsingly this is the first time that Phil Woods has made an album of standards; though he's not averse to playing other people's tunes, he's tended to go for the more obscure gems rather than the selection of old chestnuts we find here.

He's accompanied by his trusty quintet, two of whom have been with Woods for over thirty years(new boy pianist Bill Charlap has already served for over ten). As you can imagine, this is a band that's pretty much played in and their warm, relaxed interplay is apparent from the opening bars of "A Foggy Day".

The arrangements are pretty straightforward; Woods isn't much of a revisionist and doesn't claim to be.The nearest he gets is a polite remoulding of "I've Got You Under My Skin" into a latin groove. Nevertheless, his solos still have the power to surprise and are never less than engaging.Unfortunately a rather sterile and fussyproduction jobdoesn't do the music too many favours; even Brian Lynch's sleekly incandescent trumpet sounds strangely recessed here. Whatever, watch it win the Downbeatreaders poll...

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