Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Phil Woods, Vincent Herring, Antonio Hart|
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Alto playing at its best!
Robert J Nickerson | Indianapolis, IN | 07/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An excellent CD for Alto lovers that love standards! This CD is great for learning the sound and style of the alto sax. Herring, Woods, and Hart display three different sounds and three different styles, exposing the versatility of the instrument. Despite their distinct sounds, these three blend in some of the sweetest, smoothest harmony ever heard by any saxophone ensemble. A must buy for all saxophone players!"
Ferocious Cat Fight: The Old Lion King Prevails
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 04/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Musicians in the know have regarded Phil Woods as one of the 2-3 greatest alto players--perhaps the very best-- since Charlie Parker's passing over half a century ago. But for some reason, he seems to disappear much of the time, or to maintain a low to invisible profile, whether intentionally or not. After Bird, it was pretty much Paul Desmond or Cannonball Adderley or Sonny Stitt who received the jazz public's attention (McLean to a lesser extent), then it was Eric Dolphy, Oliver Nelson (unfortunately not enough due to his busy arranging schedule), then Art Pepper, then Ornette Coleman (still is), then Lee Konitz (still is). The reason? Maybe Woods is a less photogenic, less extroverted personality type who confines his talking to the horn and doesn't know how to work the "image" and the press (someone should tell him that captain's cap covering his face isn't ever going to cut it). Or maybe it's because despite his seemingly limitless technique, and powerful yet clean, full, and "uncluttered" sound, there's a lack of emotion, or soul--that lingering warmth and glow--especially compared to Cannonball, Sonny, or Art.
Regardless, since the death of Sonny Stitt in 1982 there's no alto player who can touch him. After recently hearing his 1956 session, "Four Altos," I was sufficiently impressed to look for another. Here he is, the grandpa of the group, taking on two of the schooled, sizzling, extroverted prodigies of the horn, and once again showing how it's done--the ideas, phrasing and articulations, and of course that matchless tone. Vincent Herring comes closer to matching the master's heat and light (abeit it with a less focused, raspier tone) than does Antonio Hart, a gifted, full-toned player (with a fast vibrato that's closer to Ornette or Kenny G, depending on your perspective), who is still a step behind in quickness and consistency, melodic inventiveness, and harmonic sophistication (undoubtedly some listeners will insist he's deliberately playing "outside," which may be more of a disservice to Hart than Ornette). What Woods possesses that's lacking in both of the other players is a foundation, a grounding, a bottom. Listen to the way he builds from the ground up, referencing notes that are as much in the register of the tenor as the alto--making for a richer musical experience than that provided by either of the others, who immediately favor the penetrating, cackling, often-grating and eventually wearisome upper-register of the horn.
Another compelling reason for picking this one up is the sheer energy strangely missing on many Woods sessions, especially the ones with his hand-picked rhythm section of Gilmore and Goodwin, who left me impressed but unengaged, even in person. Carl Allen may be the difference, sacrificing some of the new music's "restrained freedom" for the old music's good old-fashioned visceral, muscular, tightly-clamped hi-hat, hard-swinging jazz. To put it bluntly, Woods has no business picking Lee Konitz-Paul Motian-type rhythm sections or wasting his time and talents on "cerebral" or "communal" playing. He's a bad dude, the indisputable gold standard, a potential home-run hitter every time he comes to the plate, and a session like this one doesn't let him get away with bunting, sacrifices, bases on balls, or cleverly aimed singles.
I still have a slight preference for "Four Altos" because all four birds of a feather are featured on each of the tunes, but this rhythm section is definitely more fired up, and Woods is one of those artists (a minority, I'm afraid) who proves that older actually "is" better."