Phil Woods: Adiós Nonino
Phil Woods (clarinet)
Astor & Elis (Chesky JD 146)
Phil Markowitz (synthesizer), Eric Friedlander (cello), Duduka Da Fonseca (drums, percussion).
Composed by Astor Piazzolla.
Recorded: New York, May 28-30, 1996
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
As prolific a recording artist as Phil Woods has been, many listeners may have missed his moving tribute CD to New Tango innovator Astor Piazzolla and the legendary Brazilian singer Elis Regina. Then again, some of Woods's more insular bebop fans may have looked upon this project as an oddity and simply passed it by. The only odd thing about it, however, is that Woods played clarinet exclusively on the Piazzolla tunes, and alto sax only on the Brazilian numbers dedicated to Regina. Also, with the prominent aid of Friedlander's cello, Woods emphasized the lyrical beauty of Astor's compositions in lieu of extended improvisations.
The famous "Adiós Nonino" was written by Piazzolla in 1959 shortly after the passing of his father, Vicente, who was affectionately known as Nonino. Piazzolla recorded it a year later with his very first New Tango Quintet. Woods's elegant clarinet sound graces Piazzolla's legato lament, touchingly enhanced by Friedlander's counterlines and Finck's resonant bass notes, as the three expressively delineate the piece's verse/chorus structure. Charlap, the lone soloist, contributes a delicately struck, understated gem. Woods then reverently articulates the main theme a final time. Woods first met Piazzolla in 1956, and some 40 years later created this very stylish salute to him.
Reviewer: Scott Albin