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American Songbook II

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 17, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Recorded in New Jersey in 2007, the line-up features Phil Woods (saxophone), Bill Charlap (piano), Brian Lynch (trumpet), Steve Gilmore (bass) and Bill Goodwin (drums). Track listing: Suddenly It's Spring, Careless, Last Night When We Were Young, I Remember You, I'll Take Romance, Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered, Yesterdays, Come Rain Or Come Shine, Watch What Happens, Night And Day.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 17, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kind of Blue
  • ASIN: B000QEILFQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,564 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By John Tapscott on December 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Following up on the fine American Songbook from 2002, the Phil Woods Quintet recorded American Songbook II in early 2007. All the positive comments that apply to the earlier CD apply to this one as well, and if anything, American Songbook II may be a notch better. The Phil Woods Quintet has been together for a long time, and even if the group has been on lay-off, they're just as tight when they gather as if they've been on a three month tour of one-nighters. Such is the case here. Undergirded by the creative drumming of Bill Goodwin, the stellar bass work of Steve Gilmore and the sensitive piano stylings of Bill Charlap, the Quintet is an amazingly compatible, relaxed and swinging group with a stunning grasp of dynamics.

American Songbook II presents a set of ten high quality standards, and each selection is enhanced by a wonderfully appropriate arrangement (six by Woods, four by Brian Lynch). The ear-catching intros and out chrouses set the stage perfectly for inspired and flowing bop-based improvisations by Woods on alto saxophone, Lynch on trumpet and pianist Charlap. Every tune is performed at a high level, but a few highlights of the program include "Suddenly It's Spring", "I Remember You", "I'll Take Romance", and the closing "Night and Day". Each track is immediately accessible to the listener, but reveals more and more depth with each listen. If Brian Lynch was the star of the earlier Amercian Songbook CD, there's no doubt that Woods himself is the star here, in top creative form on every tune, which you hear right off the bat on "Suddenly It's Spring", and in his stunning unaccompanied intro and subsequent ballad solo on "Last Night." But it must be noted that Lynch is also at the top of his game, and is featured very effectively with the rhythm section on "Bewitched.
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This is one of Phil's Best. The second in a series of two. I'm hoping for three!
Fresh arrangements and exceptionally clean playing. It is amazing how well Phil and Brian Lynch blend and play with great energy. This pair of recordings needs to find a place in your library. Bill Charlap, Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin are Phil's long time quartet members. A tighter group you will not find!
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