During a career that has spanned more than 50 years, saxophonist Phil Woods has earned a reputation as a supremely talented bebopper and one of the hardest-working, most prolific musicians in jazz. Long regarded as an heir to legendary saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker, Woods has toured and recorded with many of the biggest names in his field and has led his own ensemble, the Phil Woods Quartet (or, at times, Quintet or the Phil Woods Six) since the early 1970s. Although long retired from studio work, he earned a name for himself among a broader audience with his 1977 sax solo on the Billy Joel hit "Just the Way You Are." An Italian record label, Philology, has been named after him and has released as many as 27 of his recordings.
Lee Konitz has moved in and out of public view and popular acclaim over the course of more than 50 years as a professional musician. He came of age in an era dominated by jazz great Charlie Parker. However, unlike most of his contemporaries, Konitz eschewed Parker’s style, determined to forge his own. He gained early popularity playing with pianist Lennie Tristano and later as a member of Miles Davis’ famous Birth of the Cool nonet. After virtually giving up performing in the 1960s, Konitz re-emerged with a burst of recording and concert activity in the 1970s. He has remained a sought-after headliner and sideman.
One of the first bop-oriented jazz musicians to start doubling on soprano, Pony Poindexter should have been much better known during his lifetime. As with many saxophonists, the clarinet was his first instrument before switching to alto and tenor. Poindexter worked very early on with Sidney Desvigne in New Orleans (1940) and later attended the Candell Conservatory of Music in Oakland. He was with the 1947 Billy Eckstine Big Band and toured with Eckstine a few times during 1948-1950. Poindexter was based in the San Francisco Bay Area during much of his life, traveling a bit while with Lionel Hampton during 1951-1952. He worked steadily as both a sideman and a leader in local clubs throughout the 1950s. Neal Hefti, who was aware of Poindexter's talents early on, wrote "Little Pony" for the Count Basie Orchestra in 1951 (it was a classic feature for Wardell Gray), and Jon Hendricks would contribute lyrics for the version recorded by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross later in the decade. During 1961-1963, Poindexter became a member of the vocal group's backup band. Doubling on soprano in the 1960s, Poindexter led one record date apiece for Epic (one that teamed him up with many top saxophonists including Eric Dolphy and Dexter Gordon), New Jazz, and Prestige. In 1963 he moved to Europe, performing with Annie Ross and leading an obscure recording date for Session in 1969; Poindexter also recorded with Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, and Leo Wright on Alto Summit. After living in Paris, Spain (for eight years), and Mannheim, Germany in 1977, Pony Poindexter moved back to the United States, resettling near San Francisco and recording a set for Inner City the following year. He slipped away into obscurity and never gained the recognition he deserved. However, beginning in the 1990s and continuing into the new millennium, European labels began reissuing some of his recordings, including Pony's Express, his 1962 Epic debut as a leader reissued by Koch in 2001; Annie Ross & Pony Poindexter, from a 1966 concert in Frankfurt, Germany, originally released by Saba in 1967 and reissued by the Danish MPS label in 1993 and again in 2003; and In Barcelona, a 1972 septet recording featuring local musicians and his own daughter Dina vocalizing on two tracks, originally released on the Spiral Records label (as En Barcelona) and reissued by the Spanish Fresh Sound imprint in 2004.
Full title: "Ballad Medley (Skylark, Blue and Sentimental, Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You, Body and Soul)".
From "(The) Alto Summit" album.
Lee Konitz (as)
Phil Woods (as)
Pony Poindexter (as)
Leo Wright (as)
Steve Kuhn (p)
Palle Danielsson (b)
Jon Christensen (d).