Phil Woods: A saxophonist of our time

Mr. Phil Woods is one of the greatest American jazz bebop saxophonists to grace the stage. Known as the “New Bird” – nickname in reference to Charlie Parker, Woods has been a huge name in jazz from the 1950s until present. His best known albums are More Live, Rights of Swing, & At the Vanguard and really give the listener a sense of his talent and creativity.

Having been nominated for seven Grammy awards – four of which have won – he has established himself as more than a regular to jazz; he has been an influence for many jazz musicians (saxphonists and otherwise). Through his recordings, compositions, and live performances, he has shown to many people that jazz is not just a style, but an artform.

Born November 2, 1931 in Springfield, Massachusetts Phil Woods had music in his fingers and his heart. Having studied at The Manhattan School of Music as well as The Juilliard School, he made plenty of contacts in the music scene. One such friend, Lennie Tristano, was a very large influence on Woods and would give him . While at Julliard, he also took clarinet lessons with Joe Lopes – since the school did not have a saxophone major at the time. This type of flexibility and versatility would show to be one of Wood’s greatest assets.

Recording Information:

Looking at recordings and performances over his long career in jazz, Woods has played with the best of them. Some of them include Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Quincy Jones, Benny Goodman, Sonny Rollins, Benny Carter, Thelonious Monk, Tito Puente – all very large themselves. His contributions are fabulous, and to hear the best work with the best is truly enjoyable.

Of the many uncountable recordings Woods has done with other musicians, we have picked a few that are “must haves”:

(1) Round Midnight Jazz with Thelonious Monk (2000)
(2) Dizzy Gillespie Meets the Phil Woods Quintet with Dizzy Gillese (1986)
(3) New York, N.Y. with George Russell & Sonny Rollins


Woods has also put out a large number of albums, and because we cannot mention them all here, we will point you to some of his greatest and best selling ones.

(1) More Live (1982)
(2) Live at the Village Vanguard (1983)
(3) Rights of Swing (1960)

For a more complete list of works by Phil Woods, please visit his the discography page of his site.


Residing in Monroe County, Pennsylvania since 1974, Phil Woods is a founder and advisory board member of the Delaware Water Gap Celebration Of The Arts (“C.O.T.A.” founded in 1978), Co-Director of COTA CampJazz (with Richard Chamberlain), is a member of the Board of Directors of the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection (at East Stroudsburg University), the East Stroudsburg University Regional Jazz Coalition, and has participated and/or directed numerous benefits and fund-raisers over the years for the Delaware Water Gap Fire Department in particular and worthy causes in general.

He is active as a bandleader, composer, arranger and soloist worldwide, and at his home in Delaware Water Gap where he has lived since 1976.

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