Thursday, September 2, 2010

Phil Woods and the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble: Solitude

Jazzed Media
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 9.2.10
Buy CD: Solitude

Sax player, composer and arranger Phil Woods needs no introduction; this 81-year-old icon has played with almost every jazz star who could be named.

He performs here with the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, an award-winning organization with which Woods has been associated since 2004.

Woods began his professional career in the 1950s, played in the States until '68 and then moved to France, where he lived and worked for four years. Upon his return to our shores, he formed a quintet that still is in existence, albeit with some personnel changes. He has a prolific discography, with more than three dozen releases as a leader, and almost a dozen as a sideman.

Woods has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, and has won four. He composed all the tunes here, and did three of the arrangements.

This album, recorded in 2008, features one of 14 DePaul student jazz groups. Twenty-two students (in various combinations) contributed to these tracks, and Woods' rhythm section is heard on three. The result is one of the best university-affiliated groups I've heard.

It's beautifully rehearsed and swings wonderfully.

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