William Woods – Cobalt Blue
(Narada – 2004)
by D.J. Fazio
William Woods knows about the healing powers of medicine. Doctor of radiation oncology, composer and pianist, he also draws upon the healing powers of music. Cobalt Blue, his newest CD contains 11 original songs. Woods penned every tune including All Night Long, which he co-wrote with producer Regis Branson (Alex Bugnon, Howard Johnson, Najee and Will Downing). Having studied piano at both the Juilliard School of Music and Princeton, he later honed his skills performing in the NYC area with jazz pianists Joanne Brackeen (Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey and Stan Getz) and Jaki Byard (Earl Bostic, Maynard Ferguson, Charles Mingus). The title, Cobalt Blue, is a reference to the materials used in the production x-rays and just as these medical images expose hidden anatomy, William Woods lets his approachable songs give way to layers of interesting melodic harmonies.
Surrender to the music as Woods opens with the spritually vibed, Out of My Hands. Piano and soprano sax (Vincent Henry) lines flow effortlessly. They bring mystical qualities that transcend the piece and this feeling emenates further on the tunes, Reunion Song as well as Princess Dreams. The latter song features Woods on Rhodes piano and the airy quality expressed on this instrument gives permission to let your imaginations drift. Then, Small Wonder, a song inspired by his young son, embraces a fascination and innocence.
Woods’ extensive piano experience also shines through on the tune, RhythmSong. This mid-tempo groove highlights some fantastic piano work with a contemporary jazz feel. All Night Long, then adds a mysterious, longing quality with gritty background vocals by Branson, while Blue Me Down possesses a bluesy edge, as its name suggests.
Woods concludes Cobalt Blue with a beautiful straight-ahead tune mixed with hints of Latin rhythms. Robert DeBellis brings a sexy alto sax teasing Tread Lightly. Well I say, turn it up’! This is a cool song.
William Woods is putting it altogether. The healing powers of music and medicine unite on his latest record Cobalt Blue. Oh yeah, the doctor is in the house!