Phil Woods and the Boss Brass
Rehearsal bands are not commercial working bands. They came about by musicians who wanted to play better quality music than they might play on gigs. They usually meet once a week (if that much), and the musicians all play for free. It’s for the love of the music. They normally rehearse a night most musicians aren’t working, usually on Monday nights.
This band has been one of my favorite rehearsal bands, if not my favorite. Led by Rob McConnell, the band consisted of studio musicians from Toronto. Rob did the arrangements and played valve trombone. Before recording a record, they would get together every day for a week, just to get a better recording. They might play in a local club every night during that week.
I posted this recording with Phil Woods because this week Phil played his last note on saxophone. He retired due to age and health problems at age 83. Phil is most famous for playing the saxophone solo on Billy Joel’s, “Just The Way You Are”. He is a fantastic jazz musician, and I got to perform with him when I was in the One O’Clock Lab band in 1977 in South Carolina at the Spoleto Festival. It’s also one of my favorite compositions by Rob. I really love this piece of music.
Rob McConnell died in 2010 at the age of 75. The Boss Brass was formed in 1968, although it wasn’t until 1976 that the full instrumentation of 22 was complete. They made their last recording in 2002. Because it was never a road band, most people never got to hear this band play live.
This recording was made in 1985–30 years ago. It’s a shame this band is no longer here and that no one has formed a band to take it’s place. It had it’s moment in jazz history and it’s over. What a marvelous band made up of some of the top musicians in Canada. I miss this band and wish I could have put together a band like this in this area, but it was never meant to be. The jazz museum fell into place instead.
Sorry about the poor quality picture of the album cover. All my albums are up at the museum, and I had to download a stock picture from the Internet.
September 2, 2019 @ 2:03 pm
I spent my youth in Toronto; then moved to SF but my brother kept me informed about jazz in Toronto and the Boss Brass. I love the sound these musicians get. Oh! I wish I had the knowledge to have know more about them. I love to hear them. Thanks for sharing. I was introduced to a German band Thol Wolf. Great sound.