Blue Note – Quartet by Phil Woods

70s Movies and Audio

Excerpt from the concert of February 9, 1971 by the European Rhythm Machine Phil Woods at the Blue Note in Rome.

Phil Woods: alto sax/Gordon Beck: keyboards/Henri Texier: double bass/Daniel Humair: drums

The Blue Note was opened in 1970 by Pepito Pignatelli in a basement in Via dei Cappellari (crossroad of Campo de' Fiori) in Rome. The jazz club takes the name of the Parisian cave "Blue Note" where, among others, the pianist Bud Powell had played during his stay in the French capital in the 1960s.

The Roman venue was inaugurated with a concert by the quintet of the French violinist Jean Luc Ponty, with Philippe Catherine (guitar), Michel Grallier (piano and keyboards), Henri Texier (bass) and Aldo Romano (drums). The Blue Note hosted numerous American jazz musicians who settled in Europe for short and long periods in those years: Kenny Clarke, Dexter Gordon, Lou Bennett, Art Farmer, Mal Waldron and others. Not being accompanied by a fixed rhythm section, foreign jazz musicians coming from overseas often choose local musicians to accompany them in concerts in various European locations. At the Blue Note the young Italian jazz musicians (among these are Giovanni Tommaso, Franco D'Andrea, Marcellus Melis) thus go from peeping out among the audience of enthusiasts gathered at the concerts to accompanying their favorites on stage, who until then had been admired and listened to from afar. The construction of an exchange-confrontation between Italian and American jazz musicians begins which will be decisive and profitable for the growth and evolution of the Roman jazz scene (the same situation materializes in that period at the Capolinea and at the Jazz Power in Milan and at Swing Club of Turin).

The Blue Note's activity, however, lasted just one season: on February 9, 1971, two sets by the American saxophonist Phil Woods' quartet, the European Rhythm Machine, were scheduled on the same evening. As soon as the first set finished, the police burst in to turn off the lights and microphones and seal off the place selling unlicensed spirits. Thus the story of the Roman quarries in Via dei Cappellari came to an abrupt end, which was followed in 1974 by Pepito Pignatelli's opening of the Music Inn in Largo dei Fiorentini.

The tape containing the Phil Woods quartet's concert at the Blue Note in Rome was shared by the journalist and writer Marco Molendini. The entire material recorded on analogue support was digitized and restored by the sound engineers of the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome under the supervision of Paolo Marra, curator of the Jazz Archive in Rome.

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