2 November 1931, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. Woods began playing alto saxophone as a child, studied later at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and by his early 20s had already made a significant mark on jazz. Playing hard bop and acknowledging Charlie Bird Parker but never slavishly so, Woods became a vital force in jazz in the late 50s. He led his own small groups, co-led a band with Gene Quill, played in bands led by artists such as Buddy Rich, Cecil Payne, Thelonious Monk, Quincy Jones and Benny Goodman, and worked as a studio musician and recorded extensively, including appearing on Benny Carters 1961Further Definitions. During the 60s he was also active as a teacher and towards the end of the decade became resident in France, where he formed the European Rhythm Machine with pianist George Gruntz (later replaced by Gordon Beck), bass player Henri Texier and drummer Daniel Humair. Woods led this band until his return to the USA in...
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