• phil woods The Classic Albums Collection 1954-1961 (4 CD set, £8.75)

    Often cited as the spiritual successor to Charlie Parker, Phil Woods stood out among saxophonists of the era, most notably because of his unique approach and refusal to follow the most popular forms. Despite this, his talents were often overlooked by critics of the time. Skilled as a clarinettist and composer too, Woods featured on albums by an eclectic array of esteemed musicians, including releases from Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson and Lalo Schifrin – as well as, later in his career, rock acts such as Steely Dan, Paul Simon and Billy Joe. Phil Woods, however, excelled as a bandleader first and foremost, and his finest work came while fronting his own groups, most notably during the early part of his career. This four CD collection, comprising over five hours of music in all, compiles eight original Phil Woods albums made between 1954 and 1961, all of which have been superbly remastered. Paying tribute to this, perhaps on occasion underrated, jazz maestro, who courageously stepped out of the shadow of his forebears to create a sound and style that was truly his own, this box set will provide both a perfect introduction to the music of Phil Woods, and a welcome reminder of this fine musician’s extraordinary work.

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