Phil Woods The Young Bloods (1956) Esquire


Selection 1: Lover Man (Ramirez Davies Sherman)

Selection 2: House of Chan


Phil Woods (as) Donald Byrd (t)  Al Haig (p) Teddy Kotick (b) Charlie Persip (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, November 2, 1956

(Despite the presence of co-leader Donald Byrd, Woods wrote four of the six tracks and dominates the solo offerings, hence the recording date is attributed to Woods, which conveniently also preserves the integrity of my alphabetic by artist filing system)

Phil Woods Chronology: Woodlore (1955); Phill & Quill (1956); Pairing Off (1956); Young Bloods (1956); Sugan (1957); Four Altos (1957)

Pocket Bio: No shortage of fine alto players in the Fifties: Art Pepper, Lee Konitz, Paul Desmond, Oliver Nelson, Eric Dolphy; Woods vying with Sonny Stitt and Cannonball Adderley for the title “The New Bird”. Phil Woods of course scooped the title by marrying  Parker’s widow, Chan, and raising (some of) Parker’s children.

Moving to France in 1968, Woods formed the more avant garde-leaning  European Rhythm Machine and stayed for five years, declaring that in Europe he was a leader, where in the US he was just a sideman. Returning in 1973 he enjoyed nearly four more decades of commercial success including four Grammy awards and credit for a much-lauded but ultimately saccharin solo in Billy Joel’s 1977 hit “Just the way You Are”.  (Oh oh, here come the Billy Joel fans! They look mad as hell)  Finally, in 2007, Woods was given national recognition with the prestigious “Jazz Master” award. Currently hanging in there, age 82, one of the few giants of the Bop era still standing.

A master of rapid lyrical flow and use of the alto’s full register, rather than mainly the sqeaky top end beloved of David Sanborn and Kenny G. Oh, me and my mouth. Help! Now the fusion fans are screaming for blood!  

urlSartorial Note:Though a wonderful alto player, Woods consistently failed to cut the right cool image with his signature choice of a captain’s leather cap. He’s not Mingus or Monk and frankly it all looks a bit “Village People” Oh oh, here come the YMCA fans, all in hard-hats and stetsons…


Straight ahead bop outing,  great solos from Woods and Byrd, in the word of all mighty Allmusic: This is an easily recommended release (despite its brief LP length) for straight-ahead jazz collectors.” What more is there to say? Well, after padding the review with the artists names, instruments, track titles and recording date, they didn’t. Just listen, you get the muscular ballad in jazz standard recorded by everyone, Lover Man, and an uptempo swinger dedicated to Chan.

Vinyl: Esquire 32-060 UK release of US Prestige 7080

For once, thankfully Esquire didn’t tinker with the cover. Perhaps they couldn’t think of a suitably weak play on words, I shudder to think what “Young” and “Blood” conjures up, and so decided to stick with the original. A good decision.



Abbey Record Manufacturing, N.J. supplied stampers leave their customary AB engraving, along with the original van Gelder  handwritten RVG initials.

Its Prestige Jim, but not as we know it.


Collectors Corner

Source: Ebay; Sellers Description:

is is a EX/EX very hard to find” MONO UK original pressing This copy was released in the UK on the Esquire Label. The sleeve notes are by Ira Gitler.

The vinyl is visually inspected closely under a 150 watt light





ljc-lightbulb-fastshow22[1]I particularly like the information on the wattage of the bulb used for inspection. Ever since the eco-mentalists got their hands on our light bulbs, a 150 watt light is actually “very hard to find“. In future, all vinyl inspection can be carried out only under 40 watt energy-saving bulbs, requiring sensible people to bypass the energy-facists and wire four energy-saving 40 watt bulbs together, enabling sellers to continue to spot any flaws in the vinyl, as before.

There, now that’s The Greens offended. I’m on a roll !!

6 thoughts on “Phil Woods The Young Bloods (1956) Esquire

    • 32-045 Rollins Saxophone Colossus went for just short of $450 – thats why I don’t have this particular Esquire. I have never got near despite chasing it a half dozen times. People need to understand this is a British pressing and bad luck and trouble will strike anyone who dares to try and take it from its proper homeland.

  1. Congratulations Andrew with this album. I was tempted to bid on this one, but then re-considered. I have a NM Prestige original, so why bother with an Esquire having the same cover design?
    The music is just gorgeous, as is all Phil’s work for Prestige. 1956 Al Haig is an extra bonus, he had almost disappeared from the scene. I think he can still be heard on a Chet Baker qnt on Riverside. That’s all.

    • As usual, you are right on Rudolf. Haig plays brilliantly on “Chet Baker in New York,” a very fine Riverside record from 1958 (and one of Chet’s best).

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