A Rewarding, Relaxed Session by the Woods Quintet
John Tapscott | Canada | 09/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Phil Woods Quintet sounds quite relaxed on this newly released 2002 program of tunes from the "American Songbook", including two by Gershwin, one by Kern, three by Cole Porter, three by Harold Arlen, and the uncredited Right as the Rain. There are no knotty original compositions or tricky rhythms here (though this group thrives on such material). But the arrangements are very interesting and bring new life to these well-worn standards. The arranged introduction to Foggy Day grabs your attention right out of the gate. I Concentrate on You similarly benefits from a neat arrangement before the main theme is stated. And though the performances are relatively relaxed, there is plenty of intensity in the playing and the solos.
Woods is in typically excellent form, offering energetic and beautifully crafted solos on every track, from uptempo to ballad (esp. hear Every time We Say Good-Bye). The medium tempo All the Things You Are has one of Woods' best solos on the CD; Bird was definitely on Phil's mind for this session. In addition, Woods checks in with his lovely, fluid clarinet on Summertime and World On a String. Trumpeter Brian Lynch (who has snuck up to become arguably the premiere hard-bop trumpeter on the scene today) shares the front-line with Woods and certainly stands on level ground with the altoist. For this listener, Lynch's bluesy trumpet on Arlen's When the Sun Comes Out is one of the most memorable sounds on the CD. Lynch's solos are consistently excellent throughout the CD, with a great example of his melodic gifts showing forth on Right as the Rain.
The quintet is tight and sympathetic, having played together for a long time. Pianist Bill Charlap acts as a quiet foil for the heat of the two front-line players and it's this variety within the group which makes the Phil Woods Quintet such a satisfying group to hear. Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin are a terrific bass/drums duo and Goodwin sounds especially inspired, driving the music powerfully at times and subtly when needed, but always swinging.
Fans of the Phil Woods Quintet will certainly enjoy this new and unexpected addition to the band's discography. But its' appeal should extend beyond Woods' hard-core fans. "American Songbook" is warmly recommended to all who enjoy top quality, melodic jazz."
Holding back the years.
Dr. Richard Ennis | dublin 7, co dublin Ireland | 01/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"heres an album of standards, interpreted and conveyed by masters, as elegent understatement.Its also another chance to experience the mature talent that is brian lynch,the pearl(for me) in this particular oyster quintet."
Phil's At The Top of The Hill
Robert G. Rutkas | Chicago, Il. | 12/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Phil's incredible talent is once again demonstrated with this incredible outing. Phil's quintet has never sounded better. Really fresh arrangements and superb, tight ensemble work create a flawless diamond that you need to put into your collection. Also equally worthy is Phil's "American Songbook II""