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Beyond Brooklyn by Herbie Mann / Phil Woods

Almost fifty years ago, Herbie Mann and Phil Woods began playing together at a joint called Tony's Bar in Brooklyn, at a regular jam session, where the pay, if they played well, was a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine. Since then they have largely gone their separate ways, while becoming masters of their craft, and among the best known performers on their respective instruments. In early 2003, MCG Jazz brought them together for an overdue reunion. With Mann's passing in the Spring of that year this will be their last meeting, indeed, this was to be Herbie's last session. But even though the poignancy is intense, the session has more than that to recommend it. However much the trend may be toward edgy experimentation these days, there is still room for masters of an established genre to continue to mine it for its expressive potential. That is what classical music is all about, what in jazz is called the "mainstream." And it is performances such as this that now constitute the mainstream..

In an atmosphere of relaxed cordiality, Woods and Mann explore a set of jazz classics, and a couple of their own originals. A touch of bossa nova, and some variations in instrumentation add a change of pace, some sensitive accompanists stimulate without intruding, and the result is an effortless flow of invention that may not contain too many surprises but is never boring..

It is an exceptionally well-paced program, with Woods and Mann heard both separately and together. Mann's features reflect his more exotic interests, three originals with a Brazilian flavor--Bill Evans' We Will Meet Again, Antonio Carlos Jobim's Caminhos Cruzados and Mann's own Sir Charles Duke--and one, Jelek, from his Sona Terra recording with its Eastern European roots. For his feature, Blood Count, Woods reveals a streak of Johnny Hodges, while reminding us what a fine clarinetist he is on another slice of Ellingtonia-Azure Add to this some medium-tempo swingers-Alvin G, Bohemia After Dark, and Little Niles, some up-tempo Charlie Parker-Au Privave--and another intriguing original-Another Shade Of Blues-which adds Gil Goldstein's accordion to Mann's flute and Woods' clarinet. Then there is Time After Time. Recorded just weeks before Herbie's passing, as a kind of afterthought at a tape mixing session, and dedicated to his wife Janeal who had stood by him through six years of illness, it is as touching and poignant as any 4 minutes and 28 seconds of music can be. For those who enjoyed Herbie's music, and there were many of them, or liked him as a person, and there many of those too, it is worth the price of the recording.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Herbie Mann / Phil Woods
  • CD Title: Beyond Brooklyn
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: MCG Records
  • Tracks: We Will Meet Again, Alvin G., Azure, Bohemia After Dark, Caminhos Cruzados, Au Privave, Another Shade Of Blues, Sir Charles Duke, Jelek, Blood Count, Little Niles, Time After Time
  • Musicians: Herbie Mann - flute, alto flute,Phil Woods - alto saxophone, clarinet, Jay Ashby - trombone, alto trombone, percussion, Gil Goldstein - accordion, Alain Mallet - piano, Marty Ashby - guitar Dwayne Dolphin, Paul Socolow - bass, Roger Humphries, Ricky Sebastian - drums
  • Rating: Five Stars
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