We'd like to welcome Take Five, NPR Music's weekly five-song listening sampler, to A Blog Supreme. For years now, our own Lars Gotrich has helped produce these features, which spotlight great artists, styles, sounds and/or fun thematic programs. On Tuesdays, we'll run our lists here on this page. Follow the Take Five category for the full archive. —Ed.
Phil Woods has one of the most distinctive alto saxophone sounds in jazz. He was born on Nov. 2, 1931, joined the bebop revolution in the late '40s, graduated from Julliard School of Music in 1952 and was recording as bandleader by 1954.
Since then, he's produced more than 40 recordings under his own name, worked as a sideman with everyone from Thelonious Monk to Stephane Grappelli, and even blocked out a little time to lend class to a few pop music projects with Billy Joel, Steely Dan and Paul Simon. He's won three Grammy Awards and numerous DownBeat magazine polls, and in 2007 was granted a prestigious Jazz Master Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.
On his 79th birthday, we thank Phil Woods for sharing his sound with the world for more than 50 years with five of his songs below.