Phil Ramone: Just the Way You Are - JazzWax

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February 23, 2009


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John Cooper

It's a sudsy, slurpy pop rock song. Why get bent out of shape over what BJ fans think? This is a Jazz blog. I didn't realize that it and Joel were now sanctified.

Marty Nau

there is no way that Phil Ramone spliced together a Phil Woods solo. No way. Do you think that Phil played ,and struggled, and traveled the world and learned everywhere he went for NOTHING!! That he needed a producer who doesn't play make a solo that Phil played better. PLEASE. F-cking PLEASE.

Frederick Farias

It is impossible to "splice" piece together a series of beautifully integrated notes any more than a scale may be put together by tapings of recored notes. IT is silly to suggest it.
Have you listened to any Phil Woods recordings? He could have easily played this magnificient solo in one take.
The song is the most melodic of Joel's songs. So it is his best. Though New York State of Mind is very very good.

Frederick Farias

The Phil Woods solo is improvised, and it shows just how talented he is, and how valuable the jazz idiom is, how foundational jazz is to popular music, rock, and ballads.


HMMMM well there are a bunch of rests (holes) in his solo....technically it could of been spliced.....i feel the the hardcore players out there not wanting to swallow this but it could'a been easily of been pulled off....yeah sure Phil Woods was a triple scale one take kinda cat but as we know the producer makes the final call...

Marty Nau

Re-reading my comments. I was a little harsh with the F word even if I did abreviate it. I do now think that it is possible but not probable that this solo was spliced.


eddie's pal

No splicing would have occurred. Assuming that more than one take of Phil's solo was recorded, each take would've been printed on a separate track of a multi-track machine. Those tracks would've then been "comped," that is, combined into one master track, by using console faders to play (for example) one phrase from one track, several phrases from another track, one phrase from a third, etc, until the final solo was complete. Therefore, comping (from "composite") leaves the underlying rhythm and vocal tracks untouched. No splicing. Comping is routinely used on the best singers and instrumentalists, simply to get the best performance of a phrase or, in the case of an improvised solo, the best sequence of notes. Done well, comping is undetectable. It shouldn't be considered as a negative reflection on the performer. Whether or not it was used on Phil's solo (does it really matter?), you can be sure that comping was used on Billy's vocals (and instrumental solos) throughout his and many other respected artist's albums.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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