Fred Woodard

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1715 (liner notes)

1715 shows Fred is facing the challenges of the musical changes while never loosing that earthiness that seems to be so characteristic of his playing. Blues and bop are key to his playing and writing.

The CD opens the tune appropriately entitled "Now". It's the first of three tunes written by the guitarist. Big gorgeous chords from Fred's guitar introduce the compositio. His guitar almost sings it's way through a pretty solo. Bassist Herman Hampton demonstrates here and throughout the CD that he's more than comfortable with a bow.

The late Grant Green is on eof Fred's favorites. Here he does on of Green's blues compositions, "Miss Ann's Tempo!"

A Bolero groove is established for the next tune, "Besame Mucho". Woodard plays a fine solo while Hampton plays and ostinato bass figure before pulling out the bow for his solo.

"Surfin' The Changes" is another Woodard original. It's an interesting tune, sounding at times like an Omette Coleman composition. Like the title says the guitarist twists and turns his way through the angles of this composition. Fred's solo shows that he's a skillful sufer. Notice the drummer Pete Barr's cymbal work. His drum work propels this one along nicely. Barr and Woodard get into some very nice exchanges here.

Don Pullin is the composer of the ballad, "In the Spirit". Fred's colorful chords sparkle on this tune. His tone seems to momentarily echo guitar legend Wes Montgomery during the playing of the head then he settles into his own sound for his solo.

the next tune takes a groove similar to Digible Planets' "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" and mixes it with swing. For James Williams' composition "Stretching" bassist Hampton opens with a walking line before he's joined by drummer Barr. For this tune only, tenor player Kurtis Rivers and trombonist Andre Haward join the trio. Both turn in excellent solos.

The CD ends with the title cut, another Woodard original, a tune with a light funk almost regae like groove called "1715".

Eric D. Jackson
WGBH Radio
Boston

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