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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Three Classic Albums Plus




The Young Bloods

Dewey Square


Once More

House of Chan

In Walked George

Lover Man

Bird Feathers


Bird Feathers



Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me

Con Alma

Bird’s Night

Parker’s Mood



Scrapple form the Apple

Jazz Alive! A Night at the Half Note (selections)

Wee Dot

After You’ve Gone

Phil Woods (alto saxophone) with

The Young Bloods - Donald Byrd (trumpet): Al Haig (piano): Teddy Kotick (bass) and Charlie Persip (drums)

Bird Feathers Group1; Gene Quill (alto saxophone): George Syran (piano): Teddy Kotick (bass) and Nicky Stabulas (drums): Group 2; Jackie McLean (alto saxophone): John Jenkins (alto saxophone): Wade Legge (piano) Doug Watkins (bass): Arthur Taylor (drums) and Group 3; Hal McKusick (alto saxophone): Billy Byers (trombone): Eddie Costa (piano): Paul Chambers (bass): Charlie Persip (drums)

Bird’s Night Cecil Payne (baritone saxophone): Frank Socolow (tenor saxophone): Duke Jordan (piano): Wendell Marshall (bass): Arthur Marshall (drums)

Jazz Alive! Zoot Sims and Al Cohn (tenor saxophones): Mose Allison (piano): Knobby Totah (bass): Paul Motian (drums)

Recorded 1956-59 [73:17 + 74:27]

Phil Woods is heard in full early flight in these albums from 1956-59; The Young Bloods, Bird’s Night, Bird Feathers and two tracks from Jazz Alive! The album titles suggest very strongly the overwhelming influence of Charlie Parker but Woods and his confreres’ youth – most of the musicians were still in their mid-twenties – ensure that there is a sense of vitality throughout, a sense of striving and of assimilating those influences. The Young Bloods sees Woods teamed with 24 year old Donald Byrd, Al Haig – quoting Salt Peanuts merrily in Dewey Square – bassist Teddy Kotick and drummer Charlie Persip. The distribution of up-tempo, ballad and blues is finely judged, and the trades between the two front-line players are inevitably excellent. Haig proves impressive throughout, his fusion of Old School, tinged with mordant harmonies, and Tatumesque runs being especially valuable.

Bird Feathers was culled from disparate sessions and not issued at the time of recording, emerging on LP only later, and thus Woods only plays on two of the six tracks. His front-line partner on Solar and Airegin is fellow altoist Gene Quill, but it’s good to hear Jackie McLean’s angular lines in the title track. More good things can be heard from the alto and trombone teaming of Hal McKusick and Billy Byers supported by Eddie Costa, Paul Chambers and Persip. Woods reappears for Bird’s Night, a memorial concert dedicated to Charlie Parker’s music and recorded live at the Five Spot, in New York in 1957. Cecil Payne plays baritone sax and Frank Socolow tenor alongside Woods. Duke Jordan plays with great lyricism anchoring the rhythm section beautifully, and Payne is as ever agile and fluent. Woods takes a terpsichorean solo on Steeplechase and there are first-class trades from everyone on Buzzy. The two tracks from Jazz Alive! were also recorded live, this time at the Half Note in February 1959. The stellar two-tenor team of Zoot-and-Al are on hand; Mose Allison is at the piano, Paul Motian at the drums. These longish tracks feature effortless choruses and fine interplay.

Sound reproduction is good and sensibly discographical information in the booklet has been separated from the reproduction of the original liner notes by Ira Gitler. Excellent playing time, too.

Jonathan Woolf

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