The news came less than a month after Woods told the audience at a September 4 concert at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh that he had just played his final gig. He had long suffered from emphysema and performed for several years while using oxygen.
The Springfield MA native was a creative player, fine bandleader and a tremendous nurturer of young talent. He had a great sense of humor, acerbic more often than not, and a refreshing level of candor.
He was an easy choice for inclusion in my book "Jazz in the Key of Light (Eighty of our Finest Jazz Musicians Speak for Themselves)." Here's what Phil had to say about his own early evolution as a jazz player, at a time when he felt overwhelmed by the talents already on the scene:
Jazz wisdom, passed on from a man who gave so much to the music.
RIP Phil. You can breathe easy again.