Wonderful Tunes Provided By Friends. Wild Tangents Provided By Me.

Phil Woods and Billy Joel

Phil Woods is a bebop saxaphonist whose career has spanned several decades. His nick name is New Bird after Charlie “Bird” Parker. I’m not sure if that’s because his playing style is similar or because he married Charlie’s widow and raised his daughter.

Since Phil Woods is very prolific and since he’s worked with nearly every musician on the face of the earth, it’s pretty to figure out exactly what to post. I decided to go with Phil Woods’ most famous solo, his great work on Billy Joel’s 1977 song “Just The Way You Are.” It’s the best selling song off Billy’s album “The Stranger” which many have called his finest work. So in that sense it is Phil Woods’ magnum opus within Billy Joel’s single tour de force within his album piece de resistance. Er… yeah, I made a flow chart, that totally makes sense.

I have said it a million times before but I love a great lyricist.  I think Billy Joel is a genius. He wrote “Just The Way You Are” as a birthday gift for his first wife. The song basically says “Your insecurities are really harshing my mellow.” It’s not a message designed to inspire romance, but he says it so beautifully that I bet he got birthday lovin’ that night anyway!


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