Oct 28, 2015
The passing of Phil Woods last month is still being felt in the jazz world. One of Woods’ protégées, alto saxophonist Jim Snidero, will take a moment to honor his long-time mentor and friends this Thursday with a concert called “One for Phil” at the Smoke Jazz and Supper Club in New York City. Snidero’s band – Snidero on Alto Saxophone; Alex Sipiagin on Trumpet; Andy LaVerne on Piano; Ugonna Okegwo on Bass; and Jason Tiemann on Drums – will play three sets at Smoke, in what promises to be a memorable evening.
Snidero first met Woods in 1975, and then studied with him until
moving to New York in the early 1980's. They kept in contact over
the years, with their last visit being this past June. “Phil was
the guy that inspired me to commit to the music, and for that, I
will always be grateful" states Snidero. "Without question, he was
one of the greatest jazz musicians and alto saxophone players of
Snidero has been one of the finest alto players in the world over the past thirty-five years, having made his bones as member of an astonishingly wide variety of important groups including The Mingus Big Band, Brother Jack McDuff, Eddie Palmieri and Frank Sinatra’s “East Coast Band.” As a leader, he has released nineteen CDs, including sessions with Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette; trumpeters Tom Harrell and Brian Lynch; and pianists Mulgrew Miller and Benny Green.
As strong a player as Snidero may be, he may be even more important as a jazz educator. He has written three 11-volume series of jazz etude books keyed to play-along CDs that are becoming the standard for students around the world. He also has produced courses in jazz improvisation and performance for The Jazz Conception Company that earned rave reviews.
Podcast 504 is my conversation with Jim, as he talks about his friendship with the late Phil Woods, what aspects of Woods’ playing and personality made him great, and even picks a favorite Woods tune or two. Musical selections for the episode feature Phil Woods performances from across his career, including "Freedom Jazz Dance", a sultry "The Summer Knows", "Chasin' the Bird" and a frenetic take on "Shaw Nuff". From Snidero's latest CD Main Street comes his original composition, "Oxford Square."
Special thanks to my friend Jeff Kirschenbaum for assisting
me with selecting representative Woods’ recordings. Sorry I had to
pick a different take of "Freedom Jazz Dance", since the one he
wanted me to choose was more than 25 minutes long.