Phil Woods and his European Rhythm Machine

One of the greatest bop-oriented saxophonists of all time, altoist Phil Woods has had a long and productive career. He was a member of the Charlie Barnet Orchestra in 1954, and spent periods playing with Jimmy Raney, George Wallington, the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Buddy Rich, the Quincy Jones Orchestra, Benny Goodman and the Thelonious Monk Nonet. But most importantly, Woods has led his own bands since the mid-1950s, often modernizing the bop tradition while invigorating the music with both his hard-swinging alto solos and his compositions.

During 1968-72 when Woods lived in France, he took a surprise left turn, performing both freer explorations and fusion with his European Rhythm Machine. On his Inner City release, Woods is joined by keyboardist Gordon Beck, bassist Henri Texier and drummer Daniel Humair for a set of originals. In addition to his alto, Woods is heard on the electric varitone saxophone, clarinet and an English recorder. The music is unpredictable, witty, celebratory, exhilarating and full of surprises with the lengthy “Chromatic Banana” being a particular highpoint. Although he changed direction after returning to the United States, Phil Woods still speaks highly of the creative and colorful music that he played during his European years.

SKU: IC1002

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Chromatic Banana Ultimate Choice The Last Page / Sans Melodie A Look Back The Day When the World

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Phil Woods
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Gordon Beck, Henri Texier, Daniel Humair
SKU IC1002


Customer Reviews (3)

Different, Quite Frankly.Review by Big Toots
It’s not known if Phil Woods ever bumped into the late, highly inventive artist, Frank Zappa. But, there are elements in this explorative 1970 Woods recording which, when you think about it, spawn the idea that they might have shared a beignet together. Intense rhythms, meters which hip-hop across the metric spectrum or none at all - textures of all types, including electric - from Bebop to the more, shall we say, chaotic.

Now, it takes a very special artist - one who is comfortable in his own musical skin - to shed same and dive into this deeper and more complex end of the improv pool. The collaboration between Woods, whose pedigree emanated from the Bird in the jazz tree (and was enhanced by Phil’s training at Julliard) and his European machinists is a fascinating project, if it’s not for all tastes.

Hardly intimidated by their leader’s by then well-established stature (I mean - my God! -he married Chan Parker!), keyboardist Gordon Beck, bassist extraordinaire Henri Texier and percussionist Daniel Humair make complete sense of the effort. And, you get the sense that while there are complexities here of every possible musical type that Woods and this crew had more fun than one could have partying at Zappa’s “200 Motels.” It’s also obvious that even in frenzy, Woods can’t shed his natural musical instincts.

Now let’s face it: even today some listeners will find the freer type material in this offering a bitter taste, especially if their expectations frame Woods in his pre and post-Rhythm Machine periods or, forgive me, “just the way he was.” That’s fine. But, again, do consider an artist’s innate obligation to explore, run his hands through the musical waters and pan for gold. Sometimes he finds it. So might you.
(Posted on 4/29/2015)
greatReview by Big Toots
this is a super cd. (Posted on 4/28/2015)
Phil WoodsReview by Simon Sez
Throughout his long career, Phil Woods has mostly been Mr. Bebop, coming up with new and fresh ways to play music inspired by Charlie Parker. But in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he was in Europe, he was playing something else, a mix of free jazz and fusion. During that period he led the European Rhythm Machine, an electric quartet.
On this fascinating album, Woods often plays the electric varitone sax in addition to clarinet and recorder. His band, which has Gordon Beck on electric piano, pushes him into areas of music that one would never expect from Woods. The music is unpredictable and full of surprises, much of it fun. If listeners do not expect Phil Woods to play bebop on this set they will certainly enjoy it.

Simon Sez: Phil Woods and his European Rhythm Machine (IC1002) play electronic fusion, free jazz and a mixture of both in a very colorful set.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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