With more than a half-century of experience in the jazz world, it would be safe to consider Phil Woods not only one of the music's living legends but a true aficionado of his fellow instrumentalists. So it speaks volumes that the first time he shared the stage with a then-14-year-old Grace Kelly, he was moved to remove his iconic leather cap and place it on her head-the first time he'd ever made such a gesture to a fellow alto saxophonist. Four years later, Kelly returns the favor with a new CD featuring and in tribute to Woods. "Man With the Hat" arrives just in time to inaugurate the alto great's 80th birthday year and consists of seven standards and originals penned by both Kelly and Woods.
Los Angeles saxophonist Tom Luer's "Project Popular" explores the work of some of the top rock bands and pop artists of the last twenty years, reinterpreting the now classic compositions for a modern jazz ensemble. Along with seven originals, the band tackles tunes from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Prince, among others. With his wide-ranging and always grooving group of L.A.-based artists, Luer creates a nuanced and highly interactive recording while retaining the visceral power of the compositions that led to their popularity.
The latest from Cedar Rapids native Pat Daugherty and his band New York Electric Piano is the two-disc set "Keys to the City."