Michel Legrand and Phil Woods



Musical dynamo, Michel Legrand, left this earth on January 26, 2019.  In his wake, was left a treasure-trove of music covering every possible style and use.  From classical composition, to the Broadway stage, movies, jazz clubs, the list goes on.  Another jazz giant, Philip Wells Woods left us on September 29, 2015. Prior to December 1973, the two had only worked together once, with a cadre of world famous jazz musicians on an album titled, “Legrand Jazz.”


After a five-year residence in Paris, and a very unproductive year in Los Angeles, Woods headed to New York in late 1973.On his way, he stopped in Denver to pick up drummer Bill Goodwin’s sister, Jill (who later would become Woods’ wife), to accompany him on the trip. They stopped in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and stayed with longtime friend Jerry Dodgion.  While there, Dodgion got a call to do a week with Legrand at Jimmy’s in NY.  Eddie Daniels had worked the first week but had a conflict for the second.  Dodgion wasn’t available for the week either, but recommended Woods, who was standing right there.   

Woods took the gig, recording the now legendary, “You Must Believe in Spring.”  Woods won a Grammy for his tour-de-force performance, and later said the recording put him back on the map.  Among the hundreds of recordings Woods made in his career, two other truly notable recordings stand out; “The Quintessence,” (1961) from the Quincy Jones album of the same name and “Just the Way You Are,” (1977) from “The Stranger,” by Billy Joel.