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Uploaded by : Valerie Gladstone | 06/11/09

Time Out New York Kids / Issue 44 : Jun 1–30, 2009
The Children’s Suite
Phil Woods scores a classical music album inspired by A.A. Milne.

The Children’s Suite
Phil Woods 
Jazzed Media, $15.
Jazz saxophonist Phil Woods composed The Children’s Suite more than 40 years ago after reading A.A. Milne’s 1927 book of verse, Now We Are Six. In a rush of creative energy, he spent just a month arranging 14 songs. But he couldn’t get the Milne family’s permission to record them until 2001, when English actor Peter Dennis interceded; a longtime friend of Woods’s, he was the only person authorized by the Milne estate to recite the author’s poetry.
Finally free to share the music that had for so long been relegated to family-reunion performances, Woods scored the tender and occasionally hilarious new CD—the outrageous rhymes in Milne’s “Sneezles” and “Pinkle Purr” will provoke laughs aplenty—for a jazz ensemble with a string quartet. Singers Bob Dorough (of Schoolhouse Rock fame) and his frequent partner Vicki Doney join Dennis, who intones rhymes with amusing gusto. The melodies, spiced with dazzling guitar riffs and plaintive horn solos, swing, rock and soar in a range of styles from big band to bossa nova and blues. Suite beautifully evokes the world of Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear, adding a new dimension to their beguiling misadventures. It’s so charming, even the perennially gloomy Eeyore might crack a smile.—Valerie Gladstone

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