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Woods & Mays

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

Woods & Mays documents the musical meeting of Phil Woods (alto-sax) and Bill Mays (piano) for a duo session at Maggie s Farm. Grammy winner and multiple nominee Phil Woods is one of the top alto saxophonists alive, and he has lost neither his enthusiasm nor his creativity through the years. He has contributed on many pop albums including the well known sax solo on Billy Joel s Just the Way You Are . Other pop artists Phil has worked with are Carly Simon, Steely Dan, and Paul Simon. During his long career he has also worked with the who s who of the jazz world: Thelonious Monk, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Hank Jones...and the list goes on and on.
Bill Mays has recorded three albums for Palmetto with his long standing trio and one with his inventions Trio He now holds the piano chair in the Phil Woods Quintet. Besides his Palmetto recordings Bill has been an accompanist to singers Al Jarreau, Peggy Lee, Anita O Day, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Dionne Warwick, and also worked with artists such as Mel Lewis, Shelly Manne, Bob Mintzer, Red Mitchell, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Bobby Shew, Sonny Stitt, Paul Winter, Phil Woods, and Frank Zappa.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 5, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: July 5, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Palmetto Records
  • ASIN: B0051OJI5S
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,389 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By John Tapscott on November 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Fans of alto saxophonist Phil Woods and pianist Bill Mays will sense their compatibility before even hearing this CD. Both men are rooted in the bop tradition but look forward, as well. Both love and respect great melodies, and use their impeccable techniques in the service of making music. Both are great listeners too, very responsive to and supportive of their musical partners. All these qualities are on perfect display in the simply-titled "Phil Woods & Bill Mays", recorded in Septmeber 2010. The CD could have been sub-titled "A Masterful Duo". Mays and Woods are such strong and capable swingers that one does not miss the rhythm section at all. Both play superbly throughout this release.

The CD opens with three marvelous tracks - the jaunty and optimistic "All This and Heaven, Too", then moves into Woods' hard-swinging "Blues for Lopes", followed by an almost reverent Ellington-like approach to Al Cohn's ballad, "Danielle". The out-chorus on this tune is breath-takingly beautiful.

The rest of the CD has much to offer too, such as Woods' heart-felt tribute to "Hank Jones"; the subtle stride piano and fun exchanges on the swinging "The Best Thing"; the sly "I'm All Smiles"; the easy 3/4 swing of "Our Waltz." But the whole program is strong and varied and each track offers much to enjoy. This music warms the listener's heart and stirs the musical imagination.

"Phil Woods & Bill Mays" is beautifully recorded with lots of presence. The CD is highly recommended not only to fans of both Woods and Mays, but to all who love swinging, melodic and from-the-heart modern jazz. It certainly is one of the best new CD's I have heard in 2011.

P.S. The only caveat is Palmetto's cheap packaging which allows the CD to slip easily out of the jewel case.
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