Woodlore is Alto sax player Phil Woods’ second recording as a leader, is also the earliest title in Analogue Productions series of 25 Prestige mono reissues. Woods released dozens of albums over his long career, appeared on dozens more as a sideman, and has been recognized as one of the top alto and bop players since he came on the scene. Woodlore was recorded in 1955 and includes four Woods original tunes. It’s an extremely enjoyable LP of animated bop music, which means its not so far out to put off the novice but of high enough quality to engage the enthusiast.
The music holds up well to repeated listening, and the sound is far above the norm for the mid 1950s. While the frequency extremes are somewhat limited, the tonal quality is beautiful—some of the best reproduction of Woods’ alto on record. Kevin Grey started out with an extremely good recording and burnished it to perfection. Ira Gitler’s inventive liner notes uses a baseball recruitment analogy to talk about the “scouting report” on Woods, opining that his potential is unlimited. Using another sport’s chestnut, Analogue Productions has hit a home run with this release.