by Phil Woods
I could be accused of bias regarding this album. After all, Steve has been with me for nine years and Harry was an integral part of the Phil Woods Quartet for several years. So it's obvious I think these guys are good musicians. But of equal importance to me is the quiet courage and humble dedication both these men bring to their art. No showboating, no excess, no decibel overkill, no sequins on their T-shirts; just two cats serving music the best way they know. Both made music the old-fashioned way - they learned it! from all the tacky weddings and resort gigs, all the Jersey joints, concert tours, teaching, recording. You name it! - They've done it! And now this unique pairing of my two old friends.
I've always considered jazz the only improvisational art form. Notwithstanding solo efforts, the essence of the music is the dialogue and communication between the players. These two musicians have the necessary skills, i.e., a thorough knowledge of harmony, melody and rhythm, along with the superior musical instincts required by this very demanding art form. All too often, these gifts go unnoticed by the general jazz scene.
This album demonstrates a very high level of craftsmanship and skill. The improvisations include stunning performances by both men on everything from Bach to Porter. Music of such high quality is often ignored by record companies. Omnisound is to be commended for making this wonderful collaboration available.
As my good friend Lee Konitz said at a Charlie Parker memorial concert: "The Lord says pray! The Bird says play!" Thank God these cats do.