Some standards, some originals, impressive arrangements
James A. Vedda | Alexandria, VA USA | 01/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The album's name may not be very creative, but the content certainly is. This 1975 release showcases Phil's writing as well as his playing (on alto and soprano), and offers tracks in both quartet and orchestra environments. It opens with "The Sun Suite," a spectacular 11.5-minute piece written by Phil that is worth the price of admission all by itself. The album's closer, "Sacre Coeur," is another Woods original with changing moods and great use of the brass and string sections. "Gee" is also a big production number, written by pianist Mike Melillo, who gets plenty of solo space.
Phil's soprano is featured on "Mimi," a bright Rodgers & Hart tune, and in part of the medley that includes Chelsea Bridge and Phil's tribute to Johnny Hodges. The medley uses some nice multi-tracking to produce the world's greatest (all Phil Woods) sax section.
Rounding out Phil's alto features, there's the classic "Body & Soul," which he renders here in one of the finest interpretations you'll ever hear, and Janis Ian's "At Seventeen," taken from the pop charts of the time. The latter is a really beautiful tune that, as an instrumental, works better than the original vocal version (because the lyrics seem designed to drive teenage girls to despair).
I would rate this as Phil's second-best album (the best being "The Phil Woods Six Live from The Showboat" - see my review), although it may be tied for second place with "Floresta Canto" (also reviewed).
A note on packaging: This imported CD doesn't come in the standard plastic jewel case. It's in a cardboard sleeve that's a miniature clone of the original album jacket - same front and back cover art, although you won't be able to read the miniature liner notes on the back. An insert with the track listing and liner notes is provided - in Japanese."
The Master with wire band!
bandman2004 | 04/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is a terrific example of a cross between one of the greatest jazz saxophonist, his combo, and strings. A true joy to listen to from the first note to the last."