Phil Woods – Just the Way You Are

One of my many instructors, this is a touching tribute to Phil.


Phil Woods passed away this week, so I thought it would be fitting to take a break from the Maceo transcriptions and share one of his most iconic solos.

While he was a jazz legend, I chose this pop recording since it is so famous. When was the last time you heard a saxophone solo in song on the top 10 chart for pop/rock? The 70s were a different time…

This solo deserves the praise that it gets. Phil didn’t dumb down his playing for a pop audience, or resort to gimmicks. He just played a simple, beautiful solo that has some great jazz lines in it, and subtle use of dissonance, tension…

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About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra), and enjoy time with family and friends.
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2 Responses to Phil Woods – Just the Way You Are

  1. Tom Zappe/St Louis says:

    Phil told me he did that solo as one among several other recordings during one afternoon. He did it in one take with the chord changes written down on a matchbook.
    I told him that with all the wedding “first dances” I played it for I made it a point not to copy his solo. He said “Thank God, I’m sick and tired of listening to bad imitations of me.”

  2. Gandalfe says:

    Ouch. Well Phil could be direct.

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