Alto saxophonist Phil Woods died last Tuesday at the age of 83 after a long bout with emphysema.
Best known to the general public for his iconic solo on Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” he was an expert improviser, composer and arranger who carried the bebop torch for more than six decades, performing to the end (his last gig was earlier this month).
It’s one thing to emulate Charlie Parker — and Phil did it better than any alto player who followed in Bird’s wake — but Phil took it perhaps one step further by marrying his widow, Chan Parker.
For a musical portrait and career retrospective, please join me this tomorrow (Saturday 3 a.m.- 6 a.m. PST) for a three-hour tribute to Phil Woods at KCRW and on KCRW.com. The full show will be available for streaming on Monday (Oct. 5) morning on the Strictly Jazz page.