Phil Woods and Dave Sanborn

Couldn’t resist this video of ‘old Phil‘ (bn. 1931) showing ‘young Dave‘ (bn. 1945) just how to steal the show, with Willow Weep for Me (very appropriate choice…)

Circa 1990 – the music, and the look on some of the other players faces, says it all… ‘ Course, being a real jazzman, Phil just couldn’t resist that major 7th right at the end !

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2 Responses to Phil Woods and Dave Sanborn

  1. Mal-2 says:

    Geez, with hair like that you’d think Sanborn’s horn was electrified! He also plays it in a manner I normally associate with tenor rather than alto.

    As for their sounds, it’s like a scotch and water vs. a tequila slammer. To each his own I guess, but pass me the Laphroaig while you debate.

    Oh BTW that’s a #11 or b5, not a major 7th on the end there. It’s G minor like you would expect for an “All Blues” hybrid, which makes it concert Db, or the alto’s low Bb. I probably couldn’t have resisted either. I use the low B and Bb on my C-mel just like most people would on tenor.


  2. Alan says:

    Hmmm – my old ears must be playing up – sounded like they were holding onto a concert D at the end there, but then D is part of the G-minor chord, so I guess they finished on a fifth… I just heard Phil playing a concert Db (Bb1 on alto)- a semi-tone down – and assumed major seventh.

    Sanborn came up via Blues Bands where phrasing had to be ‘hard’, so his playing was always forceful statements rather than fancy flourishes, more like a tenor on helium (or pitch shift…), and he spent decades in sessions as usually the only alto player alongside tenor players like Tom Scott and Mike Brecker – so there weren’t many gushing alto players to influence him. His phrasing is direct and to the point.

    Whereas Phil Woods – well, he’s just the master, with one foot in Kansas City blues, t’other in pure jazz, and the technique of a human dynamo with soul. So he can be a jazzer, blueser, or whatever takes his fancy, including sometimes sounding more like Bird than Bird…

    I saw a documentary on Jay McShanns band once, featuring Phil with loads of other great names. Phil was just rambling on about old times, then let rip a little bit of Earle Hagen’s ‘Harlem Nocturne’ – a.k.a. the ‘Mike Hammer Theme’. Turning to the other alto player in the band (a very elderly Benny Carter !) he joked “that paid the rent for many a month…”

    Here Phil is, in that same band, …blowing up a gentle storm

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