Much love and gratitude to Jill Goodwin, Phil’s wife, for trusting us with this treasure. Brian Lynch made me aware of this book’s existence and his guidance was indispensable. Ted Panken was Phil’s partner during the book’s development and mine during the publishing process. Bill Charlap was generous in his lovely foreword and meticulous editing. Garth Woods deserves great praise for the beautiful cover photo.
My partner Sylvia Martinez has not only been supportive of these new publishing adventures, but this book would not exist without her love, care, patience, layout skills, and tireless editing. My daughters also contributed to the birth of Life in E Flat. Yvonne Martinez’s art direction was invaluable, and Vivian Martinez gave the book’s photos a second life.
Many thanks to Ashley Kahn for his enthusiasm and to Billy Joel for taking the time to speak with me about the glorious musicianship of Phil Woods. I am humbled by the generosity of Eddie Palmieri, Mark Stryker, Dave Liebman, Todd Barkan, James Caplan, and Mark Jacobson for their early reviews of the book.
Thanks to the musicians who spoke with Ted and to Bill Goodwin, Bill Crow, Quincy Jones, Neil Tesser, Doug Ramsey for their invaluable contributions to this text. Eddie Palmieri II, Lydia Liebman and Gianni Valenti were incredibly helpful down the stretch.
Much love to my dad, Brian Stager, and to all of the jazz musicians who filled my life with such joy, beauty, and meaning over the past forty years. I owe much to my music teachers, especially George Hicswa, Rocco Patierno, Dick Lukas, Chico Mendoza, Barry Harris, Andy Jaffe, Paul Jeffrey, John Stubblefield, and Frank Foster. Thanks to Stanford Jazz, where I got to spend an entire glorious week with Phil Woods. I dedicate this effort to the memory of my mother, Arlene Stager, Sal Capozucca, and my musical friends who recently left us, Harold Mabern, Jimmy Heath, and Freddy Cole.
Most of all, I wish to thank the great Phil Woods for this memoir and his remarkable achievements as a performer, composer, educator, mentor, parent, partner, and friend. I first met Phil when I attended the Ramapo College Jazz Camp as a 15-year-old in 1978. His music has been part of the soundtrack of my life ever since. Getting to know him thirty years later was a great joy. I am honored beyond words by the privilege of sharing this autobiography with the world. His life and myriad contributions deserve to be remembered. Hopefully, Life in E Flat will inspire additional Phil Woods scholarship. His recorded output will challenge and delight anyone who loves great music forever.
Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.