By the time Phil Woods stepped into the studio with Billy Joel, the saxophonist was already considered a legend among his contemporaries, a towering figure in bebop jazz.
But the pop song “Just the Way You Are,” with Woods’ piercing alto saxophone solo, made his sound instantly recognizable to the millions who listened to Top 40 music.
Woods, whom some considered the rightful heir to Charley “Bird” Parker and one of the iconic figures of modern jazz, died Tuesday from complications of emphysema, according to Joel Chriss, the musician’s booking agent. He was 83.
Although he had been suffering from the disease for some time, he continued...