Here is a transcription of Woody’s solo on Sashianova, taken from the album Little Red’s Fantasy. One of the things that strikes me most about this solo is Woody’s time feel. Pretty much everything he plays is perfectly in time, even in the fast semiquaver passages. In bar 35 he gets slightly ahead of himself but still manages to nail the resolution, landing perfectly on the 3rd beat of bar 36. The tonguing on some of these semiquaver passages is incredible – I have some way to go until I can tongue at that speed but I am working on it.
This solo is also notable for the wide range of articulations, dynamics and inflexions used by Woody. At times he plays legato, quietly and sweetly (for example, bars 41-42) but at others he plays aggressively and with strong articulation (for example, bars 49-52). The rhythm section, particularly Ronnie Matthews on piano, do a fantastic job in supporting Woody and allowing him to explore different feels. Woody also uses a range of smears, falls, trills and false fingerings – however, these are used tastefully and sparingly, and provide a contrast to the smooth legato lines also played. I would like to incorporate the use of inflexions into my own playing, but I am also aware of the difficulty of using such devices artistically and not just for the sake of it. Woody incorporates them into his lines effortlessly, and only at places where it makes logical sense.