Greg Abate captures one of the final live performances by Phil Woods
By Matt Micucci
The live album Kindered Spirit was originally intended to be a celebration of the music of Phil Woods, the celebrated bebop alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader and composer. Instead, it sadly turned into a memorial, as Woods passed away on September, aged 83. His death was one of the biggest losses in the jazz world this year.
Kindered Spirits Live was a recording of one of just a few live performances by Woods that took place earlier in the year, more specifically, the performance in Chan’s in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
There, he joined on stage another revered saxophonist, Greg Abate, whose artistry earned him the nickname of “prince of bebop”. It’s no coincidence that Abate himself, an individualist on the instrument, pays a deep artistic dept to the fine work of Phil Woods, and Charlie Parker who came before him, in capturing one of his final live performances.
They were backed by the Tim Ray Trio, itself composed of world class talents, with Ray himself on piano, Mark Walter on drums and John Lockwood on bass.
Phil Woods enjoyed an illustrious career that was both inspired and inspirational. He began playing the sax at the age of 12, and developed his artistry in the wake of the incredible legacy left by the king of bebop, Charlie Parker.
Kindered Spirits Live, in consummate Abate fashion, is tasteful and powerful, as well as an emotional send-off to a musician the likes of which we will not witness again.