"Reet's Neet" was written for Rita Goodwin, who was the first wife of Phil Woods Quintet drummer Bill Goodwin. It was first recorded in the trio setting with Tommy Flanagan and Red Mitchell in 1981 on “Three for All,” the Phil Woods Quintet first recorded it in 1982 in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, and it was also recorded later in 1997 for Phil’s first big band recording, “Celebration!”
Rava Nova – This piece was composed by Phil in dedication to the Italian trumpet/flugel horn player Enrico Rava, who Phil said, “is the very best Italian jazz man ever, who has elevated the state of Italian jazz through his many years as a player of music that is not compromised in any way! His lyricism and imagination are unequaled.” The tune was recorded in a small group setting in 2008, but this big band arrangement has never been recorded.
Banja Luka - this is the name of the second largest city in Bosnia, and this tune was written for Quincy Jones' band in 1959. During a tour of the musical production "Free and Easy" in 1959, the show ended unexpectedly, leaving the band stranded in Europe and having to do other gigs to earn enough money to go home. This piece was performed on that tour and has since undergone several revisions. This version is previously unrecorded.
"Dance Piece" was performed once on video in the late 60s in sextet format with the Phil Woods European Rhythm Machine plus Art Farmer and Slide Hampton, who accompanied live dancers. The original handwritten score for big band was found by Matt Vashlishan when sorting through Phil’s music in recent years. This big band version has never been recorded or performed and illustrates how Phil was constantly rewriting his music for different situations.
"Guess What?" – was the last track on Phil’s 1969 “Round Trip” recording produced by Chicago bassist Johnny Pate. Phil rearranged this piece for big band in the early 2000s. This tune features solo space for two alto saxophones, which was originally Phil Woods and his good friend Jerry Dodgion, whom Phil stayed with during the Round Trip recording.
The Rev and I - was written for Phil’s good friend John “the Rev” Flick. It was first featured on Phil’s 1998 debut Blue Note recording, “The Rev & I” featuring Johnny Griffin. This piece has gone through many revisions, originally appearing in big band format on Phil’s “Celebration!” big band recording and was often performed live with the COTA Festival Orchestra. The current version has never been recorded.
Here’s that Rainy Day - Was written for “Round Trip,” Phil’s 1969 recording with strings produced by Chicago bassist Johnny Pate. This big band version was created around the same time for Clark Terry’s band and closely resembles the Round Trip version. This recording is the first known studio recording of this piece.
Before I Left - is a contrafact or original melody written on an existing harmony of another piece. In this case, Phil's melody is written on the chords of "After You've Gone" and was originally written for the 1998 Blue Note album "The Rev and I," which also featured Johnny Griffin. It was later arranged for his 2013 big band recording "New Celebration!".
Selected tunes by Dick Cone, Phil Woods, and Johnny Pate.
Cole Porter, Arranged by Matt Vashlishan
Composed by Dick Cone, this is the band's "warmup tune."
Composed by Bill Holman, played by the Terry Gibbs Orchestra
Come hear the WGJO! July 2021 restarts the monthly residency at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA on the last Monday of every month.
Learn the history of how the WGJO came to be, and more importantly learn about the incredible musicians that shaped big band jazz in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Learn about the members of the current WGJO
Listen and watch the current WGJO!
Sorry, it says I have to.