The past few years have
been very good for adult contemporary pianist/composer William Woods .
His second CD, ‘Cobalt Blue’, was released to critical acclaim and
picked up a Smoothie Award along the way. In addition, the first track
lifted for radio play, ‘Blue Me Down’, was included by WJZW DJ Al
Santos in his 2004 Top 50 Year End Countdown. His third release, the Top
40's ‘Every Part Of Me’, his first on the Whaling City Sound label
received rave reviews including JazzTimes, spent four months on the
smooth jazz charts and was featured on the Music Choice cable network.
Building on his success and momentum, he released his fourth and most
compelling CD to date, 'The Hear and Now' on Whaling City Sound in
Given that he is the son of professional violinist Lee Kanter, it’s
not surprising that Woods, who was born in Englewood, New Jersey,
started out on strings. However at the age of nine he discovered a much
greater affinity for piano and developed a passion for both
improvisation and composition. A tragic side note to his musical
development was written when, as a student of New York City composer and
musicologist, Ernest Lubin, he arrived one day for class to find that
his instructor had been murdered. He was able to move on from this
horror and pursued his studies at Juilliard where he first performed
some of his original works.
Woods graduated from Princeton and from Albert Einstein College of
Medicine in New York. He works as a radiation oncologist treating cancer
patients and, over the years, has found a satisfying balance between the
rigorous schedule of a physician and the process of jazz composition and
His music has been likened to ‘an edgy brand of adult contemporary
jazz that exists somewhere between a hip Boney James and a cerebral
David Benoit’ but this summation completely misses the point of where
William Woods is at. Certainly there is some Benoit in there and at
times a little Culbertson too but what Woods brings to the party is
smooth jazz for grown ups and as such is far closer to Bob James or the
sound of Fourplay.
'The Hear and Now' features Woods on piano and keyboards, Denny Jiosa on
Guitar, Jeffrey Scott Wills on saxophone, Chris Kent on electric bass,
Alana Rocklin on acoustic bass, Derico Watson on drums and Glen Caruba
on percussion. Having touched down on the national charts, the CD made
the New Age Sampler Top 20 list for October. The music provides a fresh
approach to smooth jazz combining beauty, passion, grace and energy.
Best of all, 50% of profits from the CD will go to Habitat for Humanity.