“Phil Woods, a leading alto saxophonist in mainstream jazz for more than 60 years whose piercing solos could also be heard on hit records by Billy Joel and Paul Simon, has died. He was 83.
Woods died Tuesday in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, said Philip Bensing, owner of the Bensing-Thomas Funeral Home.
Woods gave his last concert on Sept. 4 in Pittsburgh, using oxygen to complete a performance of the classic album “Charlie Parker With Strings” with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. That night he announced he had emphysema and was retiring.
Woods grew up in the Swing Era where his early influences included alto saxophonists Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges. He made his name as a fiery disciple of bebop pioneer Charlie “Bird” Parker, earning the nickname “the new Bird” after Parker’s untimely death in 1955. He was married to Parker’s widow, Chan, for 17 years.“