Phil Woods


Born in Springfield, Massachusetts - November 2, 1931, Phil Woods began saxophone lessons at age 12 with Harvey LaRose in Springfield. After graduation from high school at age 16, he went to New York City and spent one summer at Manhatten School and four years at Juilliard Conservatory. "My first influences were Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges, and Charlie Parker."

In the '50's and '60's he performed with his own working bands, some co-led by altoist Gene Quill. In the mid-1950's, Quincy Jones hired Phil to play lead alto in the bg band that Dizzy Gillespie took to the Middle East for the State Department and in 1959, Quincy himself would hire Woods in the same capacity for the musical show "Free and Easy", which folded in Europe. The band stayed on the tour there for a year.

The list of musicians and singers with whom Phil Woods had performed and/or recorded reads like a Who's Who of Jazz: Benny Goodman ( with whom he toured the Soviet Union in 1962, again for the State Department), Benny Cater, Clark Terry (with whom he founded the "Big Bad Band" with Clark and Melba Liston), Bill Evans, Michel Legrand, Oliver Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Vharlie Barnet are just a few of those stars.

In 1968, Phil went to live in Europe where he formed the European Rhythm Machine. Together the played all over the world until 1973 when Woods returned to the United States. After a brief stay in Los Angelos, Phil moved back to the New York area and formed The Phil Woods Quartet (now Quintet). Two of the original members of that group, Steve Gilmore and Bill Goodwin, are still with him more than twenty years later.

The recipient of and honorary Doctor od Letters Degree from East Stroudsburg University, a 1944 inductee into The American Jazz Hall of Fame and a consistent poll winner, Phil is proudest of his accomplishments as a leader of The Phil Woods Quintet.

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