Chris Woods

Chris Woods, an alto saxophonist who is often overlooked, spent his entire career working as a sideman under the guidance of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, such as Clark Terry, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. He was an improviser who could do it all. Woods was perhaps too in love with Charlie Parker to be considered a major vocalist, but his solos were full of passion, humor, and excitement. Woods performed his first gigs in Memphis, his hometown. Woods moved to St. Louis when he was a teenager and performed with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra as well as with George Hudson, his trumpeter. His first recording date was in 1952 with the United label. Only two of eight tracks were released at that time. The entire session was then released by Delmark in 1991 under the title Somebody Done Stole My Blues. Woods arrived in New York in 1962. Woods worked as a freelancer during the 1960s and 1970s, performing and recording with Sy Oliver, Terry, Gillespie and Ted Curson among other musicians. He recorded with Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band several times in the 1970s; he was the principal soloist on alto and flute. He recorded Modus Operandi with Delmark in 1978, featuring pianist Jim McNeely. Woods was a member of Count Basie from 1983 to 1985, and he remained there until his death in 2002. Allmusic

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