Hall of Fame Previous        Next        
Phil Woods

Phil Woods

Hollywood, California -- 1993

Backstage in a tiny jazz club in Boston is where I first met legendary saxophonist, Phil Woods. I was a nervous 20-year-old college student who had gone out to hear my sax hero perform. After the set, I peeked my head through the backstage door. The room was full of musicians and their girlfriends laughing and talking loudly...until I asked for Phil. Suddenly, everyone was silently staring at me as I stuttered that I was the winner of the Phil Woods Scholarship to Berklee College of Music that year. Everyone burst out in laughter, but Phil jumped out of his chair, congratulated me and shook my hand warmly.

Ten years later, the publicist for Warner Music Discovery arranged for me to meet Phil Woods once again. Downbeat Magazine published this photo of Phil and I that was taken after his show at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood. This time I had an international CD release, Tigress, that was garnering rave reviews. Phil had already heard the recording and had offered a glowing quote, "The lady can play! Emotion and fire well-tempered by a sensitive, warm approach. And she's funky as hell!"

I doubt that Phil remembered meeting me in that Boston jazz club, but the fact that he now knew me as a professional player on the scene meant a lot to me. I was still totally in awe of his amazing musicianship and years of experience in the business. He started leading his own bands in 1955 and went on to record more than 100 albums under his own name. My private teacher, San Francisco Bay Area be-bopper, Hal Stein, first turned me on to Phil Woods' "Birds of a Feather" recording that was released the year of my highschool graduation. I was immediately hooked by his amazing alto sax sound and technique.

I used to listen so intently to Phil's recordings, playing along in my head while driving to my gigs in LA, that I would run stop signs. I must have absorbed something of Phil's spirit that way because one night at my steady jazz gig, both the band and my fans said they had never heard me play that way....like I was channeling Phil!

Maybe this explains why I got in a car accident on the way to Catalina's in Hollywood the night this photo was taken. Actually, I was rear-ended on Highway 101, so it wasn't my fault, right? But even with $3000 worth of damage to my truck, and whiplash, I wasn't about to miss a night of hanging out with a legend.

For more about Phil Woods, go to www.philwoods.com.