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Phil Woods / Lew Tabackin by Phil Woods and Lew Tabackin

Take one of the greatest - if not THE greatest (well, along with Frank Morgan) - Parker-descended altoists, pair him with one of the most inventive, under-rated straight-ahead tenorists in this hemisphere, assemble what used to be referred to as a "rhythm section" that features the altoist's long-time drummer and a pianist & bassist who, individually or in tandem, can say more with three or four well-placed/spaced notes than most jazz players can say in a 15-minute solo. Let simmer, and you got one robust, stick-to-the-ribs, steaming hot aluminum platter of mainstream hard bop with such a refreshing EDGE to it that it would but many "out-er" players to shame. Just listen to the way the horns careen (we're talkin' a triple-shot of espresso here) throughout "Limehouse Blues" while the rest of the band storms away like the Coltrane Quartet of the early 60s. Yee-haw!

There's lovely ballad playing too: Woods' original "Petite Chanson" features distinctive, almost Ellington-ian unison playing from Tabackin's flute and Woods gutsy, seldom-heard clarinet, as well as beautiful soloing. Evidence is to be commended for rescuing this gem from obscurity - this is one of the best "mainstream" jazz albums I've heard in many a moon. Some Woods albums, though good, find him just going through the bop motions, but this session is proof positive you don't always have to play "out" to create unique and powerful sounds. Three thumbs up!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Phil Woods and Lew Tabackin
  • CD Title: Phil Woods / Lew Tabackin
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 1998
  • Record Label: Evidence Records
  • Musicians: Phil Woods (alto sax), Lew Tabackin (tenor sax), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Michael Moore, Bill Goodwin (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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