Real Life

Real Life

by Phil Woods' Little Big BandPhil Woods' Little Big Band


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During a major portion of his career, Phil Woods predominately led a quartet or quintet, so the opportunity to work with his Little Big Band gave him a special pleasure, by expanding both the brass and reeds to an octet. His third release to feature the octet includes his working quintet at the time, including trombonist Hal Crook, pianist Jim McNeely, plus his longtime rhythm section, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin. Guests include Woods' former sideman trumpeter/flugelhornist Tom Harrell, alto and baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola, plus alto and tenor saxophonist Nelson Hill. Although the economics of touring with a band this size made it impossible to tour, the musicians dove into the difficult arrangements with plenty of gusto and end up sounding as if they had been playing them in concert for months. McNeely's challenging "Real Life" is especially inspired, while Woods is joined by both Brignola and Hill on alto saxes for a bluesy rendition of "Quill," a tribute to Woods' former partner, Gene Quill. The leader switches to clarinet for the powerful "Waltz for Harry," written in memory of Woods' former guitarist, Harry Leahey; Harrell's warm flugelhorn and McNeely's piano solo are also featured. Harrell's "Sail Away," one of his most important compositions, is arranged by Woods to feature Crook's potent trombone. The program ends with a boisterous rendition of Woods' usual set closer, including snatches of several pieces, among themDizzy Gillespie's famous introduction to "All the Things You Are," a blistering bit of "52nd Street Theme," plus the closing tags of "Salt Peanuts" and "Harlem Nocturne." Sadly, this would be the final recording of this octet, as the death of Nick Brignola in 2002 prevented a reunion of this particular lineup of jazz all-stars.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/01/1991
Label: Chesky Records
UPC: 0090368004727
catalogNumber: 47
Rank: 119162


  1. Real Life
  2. Quill
  3. Idols
  4. Loose Change
  5. Waltz for Harry
  6. Sail Away
  7. Laddy Buck
  8. Bouquet
  9. Viable Blues
  10. How's Your Mama? (Phil's Theme)

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Phil Woods' Little Big Band   Primary Artist
Nick Brignola   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Jim McNeely   Piano
Hal Crook   Trombone
Steve Gilmore   Bass
Bill Goodwin   Drums
Tom Harrell   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Prp
Nelson Hill   Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Phil Woods   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Track Performer

Technical Credits

David Chesky   Producer
Jim McNeely   Arranger
Hal Crook   Arranger
Norman Chesky   Executive Producer
Bob Katz   Engineer
Bret Primack   Liner Notes
Phil Woods   Arranger
Hal Wilson   Art Direction
Lynette Meynig   Paintings,Cover Art,Cover Painting
Scott Meynig   Paintings,Cover Art,Cover Painting

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