The title of this Phil Woods tribute to Quincy Jones is taken from a 1956 Jones classic LP; This is How I Feel About Jazz. Woods’ tribute is a special release as it features Quincy’s compositions while he was at the top of his game as a big band leader-from the mid 50s to the mid 60s, before he left jazz aside to focus on pop and became more of a first choice producer, even working with Michael Jackson.
Recorded either as a quintet with Woods’ regular band members: Brian Lynch on trumpet; the incomparable Bill Charlap on piano; and backed by long time regulars Steve Gilmore on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums, the quintet becomes a little big band when the above-mentioned artists are added to the mix.
This tribute CD is largely made up of Quincy’s classic big band features, i.e. Stockholm Sweetness, The Quintessence, Meet Benny Bailey, and Birth of a Band to name just a few. My special favorites include Meet Benny Bailey featuring Lynch and For Lenny and Lena, which features the nonet in a lightly swinging mode accented by the front line horns and the bari sax. Brian Lynch gets in a nice solo as well.
Lynch’s arrangement of The Pawnbroker gets a smooth elegiac reading with a perfect blending of the octet. Hard Sock Dance with Charlap’s comping and Lynch’s bluesy tribute to Benny Bailey are highlights of the CD. Nelson Hill does a nice complement to Lynch here, as does Woods. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set is a ballad feature to melt your heart and you can imagine yourself swaying to the beat in a 1950s nightclub to this classic Jones composition. Q’s Delight, Woods’ only original contribution to this CD, more than holds its own with the other Jones’ compositions.
You will have a hard time picking out your favorite track here, as the sheer beauty of the arrangements by Woods and the pitch-perfect playing is a true tribute to Quincy Jones. Phil’s warm feelings for Mr. Jones are more than evident in the care given to the arrangements. It’s mighty hard not to give this CD a solid five-star recommendation! And hail to Jazzed Media for their rapid rise as a recording label.
— Jeff Krow