Little Red’s Fantasy (1976)

This album features three Woody Shaw original tunes alongside one tune apiece from pianist Ronnie Matthews and bassist Stafford James. Also featured on this record are alto saxophonist Frank Strozier and drummer Eddie Moore. Most of the tunes have a latin feel to them, with the feel in Tomorrow’s Destiny continuously switching between latin and swing. The playing on this album is strong throughout, particularly from Woody and Ronnie Matthews on piano. The compositions provide the perfect springboards for the flowing and exploratory solos.

Woody solos especially strongly on Sashianova (the tune written by Stafford James) and his own composition In Case You Haven’t Heard. In each of these solos the interplay between soloist and rhythm section is dynamic and continuously pushes the music forward. One thing that particularly struck me about Woody’s playing on this album is the range of articulation and inflexion he employs – spiky staccatos, delicate legatos, bluesy smears and shimmering vibratos are all to be found on this album, along with many other subtle nuances. This is an area of Woody’s playing that I feel I need to explore further.

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